PHCAs are physicians who step away from one role – that of medical practitioner – in order to take on another, equally vital role – that of patient’s advocate.
PHCAs do not practice medicine. Instead, they use their professional expertise to provide their clients – health care consumers – with the resources they need to successfully navigate our complex health care system.
Consider the advantages you might enjoy if you were fortunate enough to have a caring physician in your family. “Your sister the doctor” could educate you, and advise you as to how to become a more effective patient – making sure you have a good understanding of your medical conditions, of the fundamental decisions you and your doctors must make in dealing with those conditions, of the medical options you have, of the right questions to ask your doctors in evaluating those options, and of how and when to supplement your doctor’s recommendations with an opinion from another physician.
When you become acutely ill, your sister the doctor could become even more “hands on.” Figuratively looking over your doctor’s shoulder, she could see to it that, despite the fear, apprehension and illness-induced incapacity you may be experiencing, you still understand everything that is happening to you, you’ve been fully apprised of all your options, and the decisions you make are well-informed ones. And she would be quick to step forward (with a gentle query, a probing question, or a firm hand, depending on the situation) when she sees something amiss.