What is a Patient Advocate?





Patient Advocates plan, coordinate, and manage all aspects of a patient’s care in the most efficient and cost-effective method possible. They assess the patient’s illness or injury, organize health services needed and identify financial resources available for the patient’s care.  Job descriptions may include:

  • Coordinate care of patients having a serious physical or mental illness or injury. Evaluate patient’s life situation & abilities. Define recovery goals & services needed to achieve these goals.
  • Focus on determining appropriate level of care for the patient. Organize health care plans and treatment schedules for the patient and verify availability of medical support teams.
  • Estimate costs & negotiate prices for patient’s treatments, therapies, transportation, equipment, and home modifications to assure that health care is delivered in a cost-effective manner.
  • Verify the patient’s eligibility for financial resources such as medical insurance, Medicaid, V.A., and community health aid. Make arrangements for return-to-work or school transitions.

Titles associated with Patient Advocacy:

  • Patient Advocate
  • Patient Navigator
  • Patient Service Representative

Entry level jobs in patient advocacy usually require or prefer a bachelor’s degree. You may be able to get started with a part-time patient navigator job before you graduate – and that is highly recommended! Ideal candidates for patient advocacy jobs have a couple of years of experience in customer service, billing, medical insurance, or – you guessed it – patient navigation. So focus on volunteer experiences, part-time jobs, or internships that get you that experience during your undergraduate years to set you up for success in your post-grad job search. A master’s degree may qualify you for more advanced positions in this field.

Learn More: Explore this career path, take career assessments, and compare job titles using Focus 2!

By Lyn Leis
Lyn Leis Director, Career Education