Caribou: What is a Healthcare Advisor and Why Do I Need One?

June 25, 2020



June 25, 2020

How do I get information about my treatment? How do I make medical decisions based off of just the information online?  

What if I want to step away from my insurance network and seek a second opinion? How do I tell that to my doctor?

These are just some of the difficult questions cancer patients face when dealing with specialist appointments, health agencies, and insurance companies.

Navigating the healthcare system is a daunting task. It’s easy to get lost. People forget up to 80% of the medical information they receive from their care team - which is why we recommend recording appointments, if you can. 

Having a strong understanding of your cancer diagnosis and treatment can be incredibly empowering during a time when you feel overwhelmed with confusion. But it’s common to refrain from asking for help because we either don’t know how to ask or want to avoid tension with the healthcare team. 

This is where a Healthcare Advisor steps in. 

What is a Healthcare Advisor?

Everyone deserves full disclosure regarding their healthcare decision making process. They deserve to have a voice and choice in treatment options and outcomes. 

Implementing the process of Shared Decision Making, Healthcare Advisors (commonly referred to as Patient Advocates), have the experience to engage healthcare teams in highly collaborative decision-making that prioritizes a patient’s understanding. This takes time and effort to ask the right questions to receive the right answers. Often it also takes additional research from a professional who knows how to lay out of all your cancer treatment options so that you can make decisions with confidence. 

Having a Healthcare Advisor to take on these responsibilities allows patients to focus on themselves while professionally guided through the process of understanding treatment choices, comparing risks and benefits, expressing preferences, and ultimately, receiving the best care.