Week recognizes patient advocates

March 14, 2011 | Events, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

This week is set aside to recognize patient advocates who serve as liaisons between patients and the health-care provider.

The Private Professional Patient Advocates Week, March 13-19, is a time to acknowledge those who work on the behalf of patients to assist them in navigating the health-care system and ensure they have access to the care they need.

The University of Toledo plays an important role by helping train people to serve as these liaisons through the Patient Advocacy Program. The online graduate certificate program, which began in the fall, consists of four online courses that can be completed in two semesters. Students who reside outside of Ohio qualify for in-state tuition through UT Learning Ventures.

“The program helps people navigate the complex health-care system we have in America,” said Dr. Suzanne Wambold, professor in the Department of Kinesiology.

The program includes details of Medicare and Medicaid and also addresses legal concerns. While many students might have a medical background, others with business or pharmacy careers also take part in the program, Wambold said.

The field of patient advocacy is increasing across the country, and customer satisfaction is a top priority at UT Medical Center, she said.

Ioan Duca, director of patient satisfaction at UT Medical Center, joined the hospital in November. In his first 90 days, Duca conducted a cultural audit, launched a strategic plan to improve the overall patient experience, and laid the foundation for the iCARE University program.

Increased patient-centeredness and more focused attention on providing excellent service are the priorities in a plan to increase UTMC’s patient satisfaction scores by 15 percent this year.

For more information about Private Professional Patient Advocates Week, visit www.pppadvocatesweek.com.

For more information about the Patient Advocacy Program, contact suzanne.wambold@utoledo.edu.

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