Health and Fitness

What is the Role of a Healthcare Ombudsman?


The healthcare system is fast becoming overwhelming and complex in many countries across the globe. As a result, many patients work with private patient proponents and healthcare ombudsman to get the best out of their care packages. 

Are you considering collaborating with a healthcare ombudsman but not knowing where to begin? The best starting point should be finding the answer to what is the role of a healthcare ombudsman? Read on to find out. 

Responsibilities of a Healthcare Ombudsman

The core role of a healthcare ombudsman, also known as a complaints commission, is to listen to and evaluate patient complaints about healthcare providers. They focus on resolving or aiding the complainant to ensure they find a solution to their problems. 

Patients can complain about any facet of treatment, communication, rights, administration, or behavior related to a community or health service. The healthcare ombudsman handles complaints against different types of practitioners like natural and alternative therapies, counselors, and psychologists. 

Every complaint a healthcare ombudsman handles has varying results. For example, they can be dissolved, or mediation between the patient or doctor is recommended. Some severe cases involving public safety and health may require additional investigation by a medical board or regulatory body. 

The ombudsman can also prosecute serious complaints. Sometimes they have the power to take the necessary action to safeguard public safety by adjourning registration and launching investigations. 

Patients Safety and Rights Promotion

A healthcare ombudsman safeguards and promotes the rights of consumers and patients. They also improve the quality and safety of health services by monitoring service providers. Patients can take legal action against healthcare professionals if they want to obtain damages for any injuries resulting from treatment. Often, the parties involved solve more than 85% of such cases out of court. They also regulate them in collaboration with a doctor’s indemnity medical insurance provider. 

Other roles of a healthcare ombudsman include: 

  • Receiving reports about unsettled complaints from the hospital and patient representatives. The ombudsman listens to complaints as they arise. They also record details and peruse written records to guarantee accuracy and talk to patients to establish their preferred complaint resolution method based on the law and hospital policy. 
  • Advises managers and supervisors on how to handle arising problems. They also provide suggestions to help solve problems from an early stage. An ombudsman collaborates with healthcare facility managers to change hospital processes that trigger repeated complaints.  
  • Educating the board of directors and departmental heads on the functions of the ombudsman’s office. He also informs them how employees and managers can use the office to solve problems before they escalate. 
  • Reporting unsettled grievances to the hospital director and legal department if the parties involved cannot find an amicable solution. 
  • Reporting results of the ombudsman’s achievements by running presentations at the hospital’s quarterly board of directors’ meetings. 


The healthcare ombudsman office can be demanding. As a result, the ideal candidate should have relevant skills and abilities to perform their tasks accordingly. For example, they should be empathetic towards people facing problems. Apart from possessing excellent problem-solving and communication skills, a healthcare ombudsman should be able to safeguard families and be willing to negotiate with the management whenever there are policy changes.