Self Advocacy Tips

The health care system can be overwhelming, intimidating and difficult to navigate. In order to receive the best health care possible, self-advocacy is an important and necessary quality to master. All patients have a right to feel confident and comfortable in the care that they are receiving. One of the most important qualities in self-advocacy is persistence. If you do not feel that you have been given the proper treatment, you have a right to speak up and express your feelings. It is important to be persistent without being disrespectful, aggressive or demeaning. Respectful persistence will pay off!

Patient issues within the health system can vary widely such as an inability to access a family physician, lack of accessibility to specialists, a misdiagnosis, a botched surgery, a person being undiagnosed and even death.

Below are some tips that may help a patient advocate for themselves.

About Netcare

Netcare is an electronic health record (unified patient record) of your medical history that is available to health care professionals.  Your health record consist of your medical history such as medications, lab results, allergies, diagnostic imaging, hospital visits and personal demographics. Health professionals that can access your records are called custodians and include pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and specialists, to name a few.

If you feel a need to limit access to your file due to privacy concerns, you can MASK your file.  To mask your file go to and print the “Application For Masking” form. A custodian within Netcare will need to agree to sponsor the masking and fax the application. After your file is masked, it will require permission from you to allow a health professional to access your file. This may result in some minor delays in care due to the requirement of permission. For more information go to or call their help desk toll free at 310-0000 or (780) 427-8089.

Alternatively, information concerning breaches of privacy, to place a complaint or to understand your rights go to Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.