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Patient and Healthcare Advocacy

Private independent patient or healthcare advocacy is still considered an emerging field and is rapidly expanding with the challenges of today’s healthcare environment. Many advocates have been lead to the profession as a result of their own experiences and/or misfortunes within the healthcare system. In 2016, Martin Makary, MD and fellow researchers published a paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)  calculating the number of deaths due to medical error at more than 250,000 per year in the United States. This statistic would rank medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Statistics such as these are shedding light on patient safety and the importance of patient advocacy. 

The public is becoming increasingly more aware of the need and the availability of private advocacy services and providers are realizing the benefits gained by patients and their practices. Independent advocates help patients and caregivers navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and also lend assistance to providers and hospitals by helping to provide education, improve communication, reduce readmissions, and prevent medical error. Many hospitals, organizations, and insurance companies employ people who act as a patient advocate, liaison, navigator, representative, or coordinator. These roles are highly beneficial to patients and caregivers but the differentiating factor between these employees and an independent advocate is allegiance. The allegiance of an independent advocate is 100% focused on the wellbeing and best interests of the client. There are no conflicts of interest and they are not confined by the physical walls or influenced by the profit margins of any organization. 

Not all advocates are nurses, but all nurses are advocates.

A Nurse By Your Side

Nursing is the most trusted profession and nurses consistently rank at the top of the polls for honesty and ethical standards. Patient advocacy is a central tenet of the nursing profession. Nurses advocate for patients every day of their careers by ensuring patient rights and safety, giving patients a voice, serving as a liaison, providing education, meticulously double and triple-checking for errors, and connecting patients to resources. 

Nurses have experience with diverse health challenges and they have also seen the underbelly of the healthcare system. They know the ins and outs, the challenges, the pitfalls, and the risks. They also have many connections and resources, they are great creative and critical thinkers, excellent problem solvers, and skilled clinicians.

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Experienced nurses have spent years prioritizing and coordinating care, possess expert-level assessment skills enabling them to quickly recognize and respond to early warning signs and safety concerns. They educate patients in terms they can understand, and they know how to maintain open lines of communication with all members of the healthcare team. I believe nurses, as independent advocates, are in a unique position to bridge the gaps, enhance safety, and improve outcomes.

 

End the overwhelm, fear, stress, uncertainty, doubt, exhaustion, guilt, and anxiety.

  • Gain access to the right care at the right time.
  • Gain knowledge, confidence, and ability to communicate with providers.
  • Save yourself time and money by avoiding unnecessary steps and test duplication.
  • Transform your experience from uncertainty and fear to confidence and calm.

Demystifying the medical system. Improving patient safety and satisfaction.
Maximizing healthcare outcomes.

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Our Core Focus and Beliefs

After 20+ years of working as a Registered Nurse in the medical field, Bridget Jablonski, Vital Link's founder, has seen first hand the barriers & fragmentation experienced within the healthcare system. She's also seen the unnecessary frustration this causes patients and their families. So, as a natural-born caregiver with a desire to help, Bridget founded Vital Link RN Healthcare Advocates.

Vital Link advocates focus on providing individualized and patient-centered healthcare education, guidance, and support. They serve patients, caregivers, providers, and others who need help getting health information or healthcare services and resources. 

When it comes to objective healthcare assistance and support, Vital Link Advocates are your number one choice. 

WE KNOW:

  • Healthcare is not a user-friendly system. It can feel fragmented and difficult to navigate.
  • Medicine is divided into specialties and subspecialties, each focusing on only a small part of the whole body.
  • Each organization or specialty is like a silo, standing alone and operating in near isolation from the others. 
  • Rather than functioning as a system working together as an interconnected network, there is typically little interaction or communication between specialties or organizations.
  • The healthcare system lacks integration that would allow for efficient and accurate information sharing. It is easy for people and information to fall through the cracks.

WE UNDERSTAND: 

  • Reimbursement incentivizes treatment, not prevention.
  • More focus is placed on disease management than prevention and wellness.
  • Healthcare pricing and cost remains a mystery and is a frequent source of added stress for patients and families.
  • It can be difficult to figure out how much a test, procedure, or hospitalization will cost upfront, or gain any sense of what the personal financial responsibility will be until it’s all said and done.
  • Actual cost versus amount billed, allowed, and paid are numbers that can vary significantly, often leaving patients shell-shocked when the bills start rolling in.  
  • Providers are pressed for time, managing higher volumes, rising costs, decreasing reimbursements, and cumbersome documentation and administrative responsibilities, all of which affects the patient experience.

WE SEE:

  • Appointment times are often less than 15 minutes. Appointments can feel rushed and patients may feel unheard.
  • Patients may come late or unprepared for office visits delaying schedules and complicating the assessment process.
  • Focus is often placed on diagnosing and managing symptoms rather than determining the root cause. 
  • When it comes to diagnostic or treatment considerations, patients may not always receive a full range of options.
  • Patients often do not fully understand their condition or plan of care making it difficult to make informed decisions. 
  • Traditional or Western Medicine options are usually the only options offered. Functional or Integrative Medicine options could be considered either alternatively or in conjunction with a traditional treatment plan if the client desires. 
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