What is the relationship between patient advocacy and controlling costs? Can you do both? Support your position by citing professional literature and examples from your experience or the readings.
Patient advocacy is being the voice of the patient, to do what is in their best interest. What is in their best interest may not always be to order expensive testing or referral to many specialists. I think it is important to develop a trusting relationship with our patients and then really listen to their concerns. Often, their concerns may be centered around how they are going to pay for the treatment that has been ordered by their physician. I work with a Physician Assistant who often over-orders testing and makes many referrals to specialists. I have had conversations with several patients who were going to transfer from our office because the cost of the treatment ordered was becoming a financial burden. I was the patient advocate and spoke with the provider explaining their concerns. We were able to find a compromise that was acceptable to both the patient and the ordering provider. This situation contained costs by reducing the number of tests completed. These tests were not necessary but were ordered to “err on the side of caution.”
Increasing productivity and containing health care costs through advocacy and case management-type services is one way that we are seeing both goals met on a regular basis. A case manager’s goal is help patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes which in turn leads to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The use of education and prevention are important in decreasing costs and caring for patients. (Case Manager Advisor, 2015)
Yes both can be done. Advocating for a patient is just an act of helping the patient, this could be helping find a ride, finding a voucher for a cheaper med, lending an ear when they need someone to talk to or just referring the patient to different agencies for help. As nurses we all advocate for our patients in one way or another. We spend more time with the patients so it becomes easier for us to advocate for them. To be a good patient advocate a nurse must be assertive, educational, prudent and informed when speaking/advocating for the patient. Controlling cost has become the topic of our nursing meetings, how to save and what we can do to save. The wastage of supplies is a big topic. Not ordering a surplus of supplies helps with this. When you order to many supplies people tend to use to many, so order what is needed and maybe just a little more for accidents. Another way to control cost is to monitor staffing, no over staffing. Monitor staff hours and have staff to go home when they are in overtime.
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