New Activist Patients Get Professional Health Quarterbacks

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There's a surge in new health activists, consumers who want better healthcare and want more of a say in how they are treated. Many of these proactive patients are now paying for professional advocates to get them the right doctors, coordinate care, research the best solutions and guard against medical errors. PinnacleCare founder provides insights on the growing demand for personal healthcare quarterbacks.

There's a surge in new health activists, consumers who want better healthcare and want more of a say in how they are treated.

Many of these proactive patients are now paying for professional advocates to get them the right doctors, coordinate care, research the best solutions and guard against medical errors. Baltimore-based PinnacleCare, founded by the innovator of international patient programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was the first to recognize the need and create a membership model based on matching patients with PinnacleCare Advocates (TM).

Now the company has members in 48 states, and growing numbers of healthcare professionals are seeking a new kind of job. PinnacleCare actively recruits nationwide for experienced candidates.

"There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all healthcare," says PinnacleCare founder John Hutchins. The work of these "healthcare quarterbacks" is highly customized, serving the individual interests of the patient, not a particular hospital or physician network. Hutchins says objectivity is crucial because "no single hospital can provide all the specialized options available through medical science today."

Hutchins cites eight key functions of these healthcare quarterbacks:

*Consolidating and electronically storing personal medical records

*Providing 24/7 emergency medical assistance and physician oversight

*Researching the best medical specialists and second opinions

*Accessing appointments and coordinating care with top doctors

*Sharing breaking medical advances

*Clarifying treatment options; there is rarely only one worth considering

*Supporting preventive health strategies (vaccines, proactive therapies)

*Professionally managing the healthcare "maze" for best outcomes

The role of a professional advocate is complex, requiring a high level of experience, maturity and understanding of the medical system. PinnacleCare's candidates come from Sarah Lawrence College Graduate Program for Health Advocacy as well as top administrative positions from the country's best medical centers.

A just-released IBM report, which coined the term "literate health activists" for patients of the future, asserts that "health infomediaries will become fixtures in the healthcare landscape." Several services have arisen in the past four years to address activists' needs: internet referral and medical information services, in-hospital advocacy, concierge physicians and self-help bestsellers such as You:The Smart Patient.

However, within the new healthcare landscape, PinnacleCare has emerged as the only comprehensive provider of professional advocacy services. Each Member gets assigned their own dedicated professional advocates who coordinate all services, research and best doctors -worldwide--with a holistic, Member-centered approach.

"I see PinnacleCare as an investment in my future," says Arizona-based entrepreneur Joe Polish. "I'm trying to give myself the greatest possible chance to live long and live healthy."

Other members join to address serious medical diagnoses or multiple needs of aging parents. Adult children cite "peace of mind" as a key reason they have given their parents the gift of a PinnacleCare For My Parents membership. Thanks to his mother's healthcare quarterback organizing her care and supporting needed adjustments with her multiple physicians, executive Kevin Cassidy says his mother's decline reversed. Says Cassidy, "Within 90 days, we felt like we got our Mom back."

The company is committed to sharing its professional advocacy secrets to a larger community. For consumers, http://www.PinnacleCare.com gives information on professional advocacy, a sign-up for monthly health alerts and a free 40-page how-to manual PinnacleCare's Guide to Getting the Best Healthcare. Just released and now also available to the public through http://www.PinnacleCare.com, is a new 48-page PinnacleCare's Guide to Getting the Best Cancer Care. The next guide will focus on effective advocacy for issues related to aging and caregiving.

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CAROLYN O'KEEFE

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