Do this as much as you can; especially for life changing health care. After surviving cancer, this is my number one piece of advice to anyone. It will save your life as it did mine. And I believe this one approach would drastically improve our perception of the quality of our health system. (No, not more money) And this isn’t just my advice, Consumer Reports on Health agrees to (April 2015 issue page 2). CRoH reports that it is “… one of the keys to a safe and comfortable experience.” What is a health advocate? Ideally this person is a good listener and “… has the confidence to raise concerns and the ability to make firm but polite requests.” Since they are not the patient, they may be less affected by emotions that affect our ability to process the information we are told.
Also, make an attempt at asking your doctor and clinic to adopt a patient portal to open up access to your doctors notes. OpenNotes.org, an international movement, has a canned email letter to send them: https://www.opennotes.org/join/. OpenNotes.org is referenced by the Canadian Medical Association Journal: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/11/811.