Unlocking Healthcare Knowledge: The Patient Better Glossary

Patient Better's definitions, concepts, glossary and meanings for better health advocacy.

Glossary News – In today’s complex and evolving healthcare landscape, understanding medical terminology and concepts can be a daunting task. That’s why Jennifer, the founder of Patient Better, created the Patient Better Glossary—a valuable resource designed to empower individuals and caregivers with knowledge. But why was it created, how does it help, and what are the benefits of learning from it?

Why the Patient Better Glossary Exists

Jennifer’s journey into healthcare advocacy started with a mission to simplify the often overwhelming world of healthcare. Recognizing that medical jargon and complex concepts could be barriers to informed decision-making, she established Patient Better. One of her key initiatives was the creation of the glossary.

The glossary serves as a bridge between the medical world and everyday individuals. Jennifer’s vision was to break down the language barriers, making healthcare information accessible and comprehensible. It’s a testament to her commitment to patient empowerment and education.

How the Glossary Helps People

The Patient Better Glossary is a treasure trove of health advocacy terms, and its benefits are manifold:

1. Clarity and Understanding:

Medical terminology can often feel like a foreign language, filled with complex words and phrases that are difficult to decipher. The Patient Better Glossary acts as a reliable translator, breaking down these intricate terms into plain language that anyone can grasp. By offering clear and concise definitions, it enables individuals to:

  • Understand Health Conditions: Patients can gain a comprehensive understanding of their health conditions, which is crucial for making informed decisions about their care and treatment options.

  • Navigate Medical Reports: Medical reports and test results are notorious for being laden with technical jargon. With the glossary’s assistance, patients can decode these documents, reducing confusion and enabling them to discuss their results with their healthcare providers.

2. Empowerment:

Knowledge is a powerful tool, especially in healthcare. The Patient Better Glossary empowers individuals by providing them with the information they need to actively participate in their healthcare journey. This empowerment manifests in several ways:

  • Informed Decision-Making: Armed with a clear understanding of medical terms and concepts, patients can make well-informed decisions about their treatment plans. They can evaluate different options, ask relevant questions, and collaborate more effectively with their healthcare providers.

  • Effective Communication: Patients who can articulate their symptoms and concerns accurately are more likely to receive appropriate care. The glossary aids in effective communication between patients and healthcare professionals, ensuring that vital information isn’t lost in translation.

3. Reduced Anxiety:

Healthcare encounters can be anxiety-inducing, particularly when individuals are faced with unfamiliar terminology and procedures. The Patient Better Glossary helps alleviate this anxiety:

  • Demystifying Healthcare: By explaining medical terms in a straightforward manner, the glossary removes some of the fear and uncertainty associated with healthcare. Patients feel more at ease when they can comprehend what’s happening in their medical journey.

  • Empowering Questions: Understanding the language of healthcare enables patients to ask questions about their diagnosis and treatment without hesitation. This active engagement can provide peace of mind and a sense of control.

4. Enhanced Caregiving:

Caregivers play a vital role in supporting patients. The Patient Better Glossary extends its benefits to them as well:

  • Better Support: Caregivers can provide more effective support when they understand the medical aspects of their loved one’s condition. They can assist with medication management, appointment scheduling, and advocating for the patient’s needs.

  • Reduced Stress: Caregiving can be emotionally taxing. When caregivers are equipped with knowledge, it can reduce stress and uncertainty, allowing them to provide better care and emotional support.

In summary, the Patient Better Glossary is not just a dictionary of medical terms; it’s a tool for empowerment and confidence. It simplifies the often overwhelming world of healthcare, enabling individuals and caregivers to navigate it with clarity, make informed choices, and experience less anxiety. By breaking down language barriers, the glossary plays a pivotal role in improving the overall healthcare experience for all those who use it.

Benefits of Learning from the Glossary

Learning from the Patient Better Glossary yields several advantages:

1. Improved Health Literacy:

Health literacy refers to an individual’s ability to understand and use healthcare information effectively. Learning from the Patient Better Glossary significantly enhances health literacy:

  • Understanding Complex Concepts: Many healthcare concepts and terms are intricate. By learning from the glossary, individuals can grasp these concepts, making it easier for them to engage with healthcare providers, understand medical information, and navigate the healthcare system.

  • Better Decision-Making: With improved health literacy, individuals can make more informed decisions about their health. They can evaluate treatment options, assess risks, and actively participate in discussions about their care.

2. Confidence:

Confidence is a natural byproduct of knowledge. As individuals become more familiar with healthcare terminology and concepts through the glossary, they gain confidence in their ability to manage their health:

  • Effective Communication: They can communicate their symptoms, concerns, and questions more clearly with healthcare professionals, leading to better healthcare experiences.

  • Advocacy: Confident individuals are better advocates for their own health. They can assert their needs and preferences, ensuring that their healthcare aligns with their values and goals.

3. Advocacy:

Advocacy for one’s health and well-being is a critical aspect of achieving optimal healthcare outcomes. Learning from the Patient Better Glossary fosters advocacy in several ways:

  • Empowered Decision-Making: Informed individuals are more likely to assert their preferences and make decisions that align with their values. This self-advocacy ensures that healthcare choices reflect their personal goals.

  • Asking Informed Questions: When individuals understand medical terminology, they can ask pertinent questions during medical appointments. This proactive approach helps uncover valuable information and insights.

4. Prevention:

Preventive healthcare is key to maintaining overall well-being. The glossary’s knowledge can assist in taking preventive measures:

  • Understanding Risk Factors: By learning about various health risk factors and preventive measures, individuals can take steps to reduce their risk of certain conditions through lifestyle changes, screenings, and vaccinations.

  • Timely Health Checks: Knowledge from the glossary can motivate individuals to schedule regular check-ups and screenings, leading to early detection and intervention when needed.

In conclusion, learning from the Patient Better Glossary goes beyond simple definitions; it equips individuals with the tools they need to become informed, confident advocates for their health. It enhances health literacy, promotes effective communication, and encourages proactive healthcare decision-making and preventive measures. Ultimately, this knowledge empowers individuals to take control of their healthcare journey and achieve better health outcomes.


Patient Better’s terms, definitions, and explanations for health advocates to manage care effectively and efficiently.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) A term used to collectively describe fundamental skills that are required to independently care for oneself. These activities include keeping a safe environment, bathing, breathing, communicating, dressing, drinking, eating, eliminating, and sleeping.

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Asynchronous Telecommunication

Asynchronous Telecommunication – Refers to the electronic transferring of patient information that is transmitted between healthcare professionals to send electronic reports, results, and other medical-related data to be reviewed by the receiver at a later time.

Related words:

  • Synchronous Telecommunication

  • Store-and-forward

  • Hub-and-spoke

  • Remote Patient Monitoring

Watch the video

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Chronic Condition Management

Chronic Condition Management refers to one’s ability to independently monitor and coordinate treatment of diagnosed condition(s). Chronic condition management is often measured in populations through studies and evidence; however, individualized chronic condition management can be measured by one’s comprehension to improve or maintain livelihood, reduce or sustain healthcare costs, and minimize the effects and impact of the condition.

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Clearinghouse – In Patient Better’s health managing program, it is the word used to describe the person that in the event the patient becomes incapacitated, the Clearinghouse has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the patient. The Clearinghouse has an interchangeable meaning in which you will find healthcare professionals referring to the clearinghouse as the power of attorney. When the patient is diagnosed, the Clearinghouse is in agreement to take on the primary responsibilities and delegates tasks needed within the home of the patient. The Clearinghouse is second in command to the patient (if the patient remains of sound mind and body throughout the condition) and is often referred to as to a primary caregiver.

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Document Management System

Document management system (DMS) is a technological system that is implemented in healthcare clinics to track, manage, and store documents. DMS could stand on its or as a component in the practice’s chosen electronic record management system.

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Electronic Health Record

Electronic Health Record (EHR) – Refers to a robust electronic system that stores patient information electronically. These types of records are typically found within large interdisciplinary or regional hospitals, medical centers, and other health entities.

Video coming soon

Electronic Medical Record

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) – An electronic medical record is a smaller scaled version of the electronic health record. This electronic system stores patient information within smaller or private practices that typically offer one specialized medical service.

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Evidence-Based Medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves the clinical decisions being made by integrating the patient’s preferences, evidence of efficacy, and the provider’s experiences with medical treatment.

(Please see value-based medicine).

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Fee for Service (F4S) – Is a traditional payment model within clinics where services are unbundled and paid for separately.  In healthcare, it gives an incentive for physicians to provide more treatments.

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Health is a broad word used when referring to the status of a living being at any given time. 2) Soundness of the body or mind free from disease or abnormality. 3) A condition of optimal well-being.

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Health Communication

Health Communication is a historically conceptualized idea created by industrial experts geared for health professionals to enhance the quality of treatment for the betterment of the patient’s safety and experience.

However, Patient Better realized that if health communication is only applied to one person or group in what should be an interaction between two, then the concept becomes skewed. And that is how the provider-patient synergy was formulated into the parent-child interaction. Whereas in today’s health setting, the traditional provider-patient relationship has become obsolete and the interaction between the professional and patient must be modernized into an equal partnership in care.

For health management purposes Patient Better applied two meanings to health communication and categorized them into two perspectives. By doing this, we have developed a reciprocal and equally beneficial tool where the health professional and the patient can interact.

The Healthcare Professional’s Perspective:

Health communication is the study and practice of communicating health information and education between professional and patient. The purpose for professionals to disseminate health information is to influence the patient’s health choices by improving their health literacy.

  • Increase patient’s health knowledge and awareness
  • Influence behaviors and attitudes toward a health issue
  • Demonstrate healthy practices
  • Demonstrate the benefits of behavior changes
  • Advocate a position on a health issue
  • Increase support
  • Alleviate misconceptions about health

The Patient’s Perspective:

Health communication is the focus on the dissemination and transmission of information that is exchanged between the patient and the clinician to influence personal health choices and improve health literacy.

  • Know the best communication practices in a professional environment to prevent and safeguard against errors.
  • Remove barriers and identify obstacles that may prevent an activity-driven appointment to have a productive office visit.
  • Learn the fundamentals of health management communication, like definitions and vocabulary, health literacy, and the difference between medical jargon and terminology and how it affects appointment preparation.

Watch video:

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Health History

Health History – In clinical terms, the health history refers to the patient’s summary of past and present health. The health history is an overview of the patient’s health and is a snapshot that helps health professions better understand the patient’s health status that may lead and contain relevant information bearing on their health future. The medical history comes up as an account of all medical events and occurrences that a person may have experienced, and this is an important tool in the management of the patient. In Patient Better context, the health history refers to the patient’s “table of contents” of the health story.

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Health Story

Health Story – Detailed chronological personal remembrance of one’s life or health occurrence that may include emotions, pain scales, status, reactions, circumstance, and underlying events and causes.

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Healthcare refers to the efforts that are made to treat, maintain, or restore physical, or psychological well-being by trained licensed professionals.

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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – A United States law that designed privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to healthcare professionals, medical offices and hospitals, and third-party payers.

Health Management

Health Management refers to one’s ability to self-manage care.

Health Management Program

A health management program (HMP) is a life tool that teaches patients and their at-home caregiving team how to schedule, coordinate, delegate tasks, and financial plan. Through novel concepts HMP educates people the skills needed to become more self-reliant in overseeing one’s care.

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Hub-and-spoke – A version of synchronous communication that is applied in healthcare settings. Hub-and-spoke is a method of organization involving the establishment of a main campus, or hub, and is complemented by satellite campuses or offices.

Informal Caregiver

Informal Caregiver – Are people (typically family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, and others that are part of the patient’s social circle) who have taken on the responsibility to care for another, that go unpaid and have no formal medical training, who helps deliver care, provides service and aids people with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Loose Note

Loose Note – This is a note that does not pertain to any specific project or relevancy structure or arrangement.

Meaningful Learning

Meaningful Learning (ML) – Refers to the concept that people take previously learned information and apply it to new. For understanding this concept, it is good to contrast meaningful learning with the much less desirable, rote learning.

Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use – Meaningful Use means that electronic health record technology is used in a “meaningful” way and ensures that health information is shared and exchanged to improve patient care. According to the CDC, there are five “pillars” of health outcomes that support the concept:

Meaningful Use:

  • Improve quality, safety, and efficiency while reducing health disparities.

  • Engage patients and families.

  • Improve care coordination.

  • Improve public health.

  • Ensure privacy for personal health information[i].

[i] Slight, S. P., Berner, E. S., Galanter, W., Huff, S., Lambert, B. L.,

Lannon, C., Lehmann, C. U., McCourt, B. J., McNamara, M., Menachemi, N., Payne, T. H., Spooner, S. A., Schiff, G. D., Wang, T. Y., Akincigil, A., Crystal, S., Fortmann, S. P., & Bates, D. W. (2015). Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records: Experiences From the Field and Future Opportunities. JMIR medical informatics3(3), e30. https://doi.org/10.2196/medinform.4457


Medical is a word that is applied when one refers to the the practice of medicine. 2) Requires professional treatment at any specific point of care. 3) Pertaining to the healing of disease, illness, or sickness.

Medical Jargon

Medical Jargon – Medical jargon is commonly used terms and abbreviations used in healthcare practices. Jargon is not universal and can have multiple meanings in general medicine. Jargon can differ from one office to the next.

Medical Record

Medical Record – This is a compilation of written or digital notes, documents, reports, observations, and patient information created by licensed healthcare professionals to record a specific health occurrence and treatment. Medical records are then submitted and stored within a medical entity’s database to be reviewed for an extended period of time.

Medical Terminology

Medical Terminology – Medical terminology is a universal description of terms and abbreviations used in healthcare to precisely describe the human body, and includes the components, processes, and procedures that are performed. Medical terminology is universal and is defined by the National Library of Medicine. Medical terminology uses the same prefixes and suffixes are used to add meanings to different roots. The root of a term typically refers to the organ, tissue, or condition.


Outcomes – In self-management terms, outcomes or health outcomes refer to measurement’s result of the entire health occurrence. These measurements are based on the episode’s overall health costs and the patient’s experience or health status that is affected by health use (Please refer to class 1.4 Health Literacy). However, there are seven primary measures that professionals will use to conclude their patient’s outcome and are listed as followed: 1. Mortality 2. Safety of Care 3. Readmissions 4. Patient experience 5. Effectiveness of care 6. Timeliness of Care 7. Data Transparency.

Patient-Centered Care

Patient-Centered Care (PCC) – Involves individual patients in their specific care demands. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”

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Patient Engagement

Patient Engagement – Patient engagement is a broader concept that combines patient activation with interventions designed to increase activation and promote positive patient behavior, such as obtaining preventive care or exercising regularly.


Pay for Performance – In the healthcare industry, pay for performance (P4P), also known as “value-based purchasing”, is a payment model that offers financial incentives to physicians, hospitals, medical groups, and other healthcare providers for meeting certain performance measures.

Primary Caregiver

Primary caregiver – A primary caregiver is someone who’s faced with the duty of taking care of a friend or loved one who is no longer able to care for themselves. Primary caregivers may be caring for children, a senior, a spouse with a terminal illness, or any friend or family member who requires assistance with daily activities.

Relationship-Centered Care

Relationship-Centered Care (RCC) – A framework for conceptualizing healthcare that recognizes that the nature and quality of relationships in health care influence the process and outcomes of health care. An extension of Patient-Centered Care, Relationship-Centered Care is founded upon four principles: (1) that relationships in health care ought to include the personhood of the participants, (2) that affect emotions are important components of these relationships, (3) that all health care relationships occur in the context of reciprocal influence, and (4) that the formation and maintenance of relationships in care participation are morally valuable.

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[i] Beach, M. C., Inui, T., & Relationship-Centered Care Research Network (2006). Relationship-centered care. A constructive reframing. Journal of general internal medicine21 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S3–S8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00302.x

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote Patient Monitoring – Remote patient monitoring is a technology to enable monitoring of patients outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home or in a remote area, which may increase access to care and decrease healthcare delivery costs.

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Retail Health Clinic

Retail Health Clinic – A retail health clinic is a walk-in clinic located in a retail store, supermarket, or pharmacy to treat uncomplicated illness and provide preventative healthcare services.

Rote Learning

Rote learning is the process of memorizing information based on repetition. Rote learning enhances students’ ability to quickly recall basic facts and helps develop foundational knowledge of a topic. Examples of rote learning include memorizing multiplication tables or the periodic table of elements.

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Secondary Caregiver

Secondary Caregiver – Are the trained representatives of home health and home care companies to assist the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and/or terminally ill in the comfort of the individual’s home. Home care assistants often work in private homes to help patients with daily tasks such as personal grooming, meal preparation, driving to and from medical appointments and documenting in-person and virtual medical office visits.

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Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being, happiness, and interests.

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Self-Management Program

Self-management program – A self-managing program refers to a program that helps people who have ongoing health conditions and caregivers learn how to manage their care more effectively. For many people, a self-managing program reduces stress, allowing them to follow treatment more closely and identify financial errors, duplicate tests, and become more proficient in health communication and literacy. Self-management education programs are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

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Self-Managing Care

Self-managing care is a term used to refer to the management, overseeing, or the controlling of one’s affairs (e.g., to manage one’s documents, care delivery, participants and contributors, finances, or time) as it relates to health.

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Store-and-forward – Store-and-forward telemedicine is collecting clinical information and sending it electronically to another site for evaluation. Information typically includes demographic data, medical history, documents such as laboratory reports, and images, video and/or audio files.

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Synchronous Telecommunication

Synchronous Telecommunication – In the medical world, synchronous telecommunication is the real-time communication that is conducted by the provider and patient to exchange information in a live setting.

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Telehealth – Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies primarily used among health professionals Includes learning, continued education, through means of virtual technology.

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Telemedicine – refers to the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. It allows the clinician to contact, treat, advise, remind, educate, and monitor long-distance patients.

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Value-Based Medicine

Value-Based Medicine – The Center for Value-Based Medicine suggested value-based medicine (VBM) as the practice of medicine based upon the patient-perceived value conferred by an intervention. VBM starts with the best evidence-based data and converts it to patient value-based data so that it allows clinicians to deliver higher quality patient care than EBM alone. The final goals of VBM are improving the quality of healthcare and using healthcare resources efficiently.

(For further evaluation, please see Evidence-Based Medicine)

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Virtual Medicine

Virtual Medicine – The term virtual medicine refers to the treatment of various medical conditions long-distance through means of telecommunication. Telemedicine platforms include live video and audio, instant messaging in a remote setting.

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Patient Better’s ideas for everyday people become expert health advocates quickly.

4|6 Step Medical Office Visit Process

4|6 Step Medical Office Visit Process– Patient Better’s explanation of the healthcare practices’ and patient’s series of steps and actions needed to complete a successful medical office visit. The 4|6 SMOVP process was developed for everyday people to see the layout in which a typical patient goes through as protocol of the medical office likened to a patient’s process when visiting under the care of a clinician.

Get a K.L.U.E.

Get a K.L.U.E.- A step-by-step guideline of what patients should know when diagnosed and the answers the recommendation’s treatment should have before you leave the office.

  • Know what your options are if you hold off on a recommended procedure or surgery or decide not to have it.

  • Learn why the clinician is ordering the product or service and if there are any risks associated with it.

  • Understand why the test is being ordered.

  • Evaluate your dedication to improving your outcomes.

DYI C&L Skills:

DYI C&L Skills: How and where patients should start learning better communication and literacy skills.

The Small-Big-Small Picture

The Small-Big-Small Picture: An explanation of how and why data is collected, turned into statistics and then used to help in [the patient’s} healthcare.

The EPIC Transformation

The EPIC Transformation: Informative training on transforming the patient-provider relationship from a traditional parent-child role to a modern equal partnership in care (EPIC) exchange.

About the Author

About the Author

Jennifer Woodruff, MHA., a seasoned healthcare administrator with a Masters degree in the field. She is the founder of Patient Better, a company dedicated to empowering individuals to advocate for their health more effectively.

About Patient Better»


The information provided here is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Recommended Reads

If you found this article insightful, enhance your health advocacy journey with these carefully selected reads, chosen to deepen your understanding and empower your healthcare decisions.

Is the Patient Better program right for you?

Patient Better is a groundbreaking health advocacy solution that empowers individuals and their caregivers to become more proficient in today’s medical landscape. With our comprehensive Health Advocacy Program, we provide aspiring advocates with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system effectively. This unique program covers a wide range of topics, from understanding medical concepts, processes, and financial intricacies, to learning effective communication skills, patient advocacy techniques, and the importance of holistic wellness. Participants will emerge with a comprehensive skill set that enables them to navigate the healthcare landscape with confidence and positively impact their lives.

By enrolling in the Patient Better Health Advocacy Program, participants gain access to expert-led training sessions, interactive workshops, and real-world case studies. The curriculum is thoughtfully designed to equip advocates with practical tools to support patients and their families during challenging medical situations. As advocates, they learn to bridge the communication gap between healthcare providers and patients, ensuring that medical decisions are well-informed and aligned with the patient’s best interests.

Consider purchasing the Patient Better Health Advocacy Program if:

  1. You or your family are facing challenges in communicating, coordinating, or collaborating on your healthcare efficiently and effectively.

  2. You or your family have received a medical diagnosis and seek to minimize errors, oversights, and uninformed decisions.

  3. You or your family are looking for a cost-effective solution to navigate and understand your health journey.

With the Patient Better Health Advocacy Program, you’ll gain the support and expertise needed to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system, empowering you to make informed decisions and improve your overall healthcare experience.