What is an independent patient advocate?
Independent patient advocacy is a relatively new industry that’s rapidly growing as a result of increasing complexity, sluggishness and expense of the American healthcare system. Independent patient advocates work directly for patients on a private pay basis. We still, of course, completely rely on your knowledge and experience to provide medical diagnosis, treatment and follow up care.
What are the qualifications of Serenity’s advocates?
Our founder is Jim Best. Perhaps most importantly, Jim estimates that he has been in more than 1,100 surgeries and has had 5,000 or more (often highly technical) conversations with surgeons. He is close friends with about a dozen physicians and thus truly understands your resource constraints.
He was pre-med at Vanderbilt University. He became a science teacher in Spanish Harlem and has now been in healthcare for seventeen years. In addition to patient advocacy, that time has been spent in biotech market research and various posts in the medical device industry (product development, product training, sales and sales management).
He received an MBA (with a healthcare emphasis) from UCLA Anderson. He is a board certified patient advocate (BCPA) and a certified oncology patient navigator (OPN). These certifications required studying these 41 topics and 20 topics, respectively.
Can we refer patients to you?
You certainly can, but there are two simple caveats. First, our only allegiance is to the patient, just as yours is. Second, we neither give nor receive any referral bonuses or finders fees.
How do we know your presence is legal? Do advocates comply with HIPAA?
Every one of our clients has to sign your facility’s consent form that allows you to communicate with us. We always carry that document and it will live in EMRs whenever possible.
Currently, we are not a "covered entity" under HIPAA. (That’s likely because the 1996 law long predates our widespread existence). Serenity believes that we’ll inexorably be a covered entity at some point and moreover, protecting privacy is simply the right thing to do. So we have fastidiously implemented various privacy protection mechanisms that are outlined in this 26 page document.
How does your service augment my practice?
When your patients work with a good independent patient advocate, you’ll likely discover that:
patients don’t waste your time asking questions which are more appropriate for the cancer center,
the patient advocate still knows to alert you when necessary,
patients have increased medication adherence, ensuring that other co-morbidities don’t exacerbate during their cancer treatment,
your patient’s history is transferred properly to the new EMR,
pharmaceutical reconciliation in the EMR occurs consistently,
patients’ morale is higher because they have someone to manage every nuance of their care,
patients don’t call you with questions about their insurance, and
existing care coordination efforts are re-doubled by the advocate.