The More Things Change, The More They…

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2books-newold… seem to change.

Yes – I know that’s not the way that saying is supposed to go, but in this case, it’s true.

Healthcare – and the pursuit if its best outcomes – changes constantly.  Just think about the changes over the past few years!

I suggest to you that all the changes in healthcare, ranging from the ACA, to updated research results, to use of the internet, to changes in DRGs and CPTs, to outright FRAUD – all create opportunities for advocates to market themselves and their services.

All these changes have been on my mind in a big way for the past six months:

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Here’s my shameless plug – in a moment I’ll return to the point of this blog post….
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There were enough changes to the healthcare system, that last winter I decided to update my first book:  You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes (How to Fix Them to Get the Healthcare You Deserve)*  First published in early 2010, it turns out that there were more than 100 changes in only 300 pages. I’m not talking about typos. I’m talking about changes that result from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the ways patients are making decisions (Shared Decision Making process). I’m talking about the regard for high technology (those surgical robots aren’t so in favor these days.)  The list goes on and on.  Here’s more information about the updated version, just published in early August, and a photo so you can see how many changes were made.)

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… All the while I was rewriting my book, I kept thinking of all the ways patient advocates could take advantage of the changes to further their marketing efforts.

Three examples:

Shared Decision Making is written into the ACA. It is expected that doctors will deal with it by parking their patients in front of a computer (or handing them an iPad or tablet) to watch a video or two, and then will expect their patients to sign something that says they’ve been informed of their options.  Yes – well – we all know what that’s going to look like  That makes Shared Decision Making RIPE for marketing – both to individuals and to doctor’s offices who don’t want to deal with it (and don’t really want their patients to understand additional options.)

Electronic Health Records make it easier than ever for mistakes to be replicated throughout a patient’s entire posse of doctors.  EHRs are a great place for advocates to begin their work with patients, going through the records and helping them correct those errors (and learning about the patient’s challenges overall.)

Hospitals are taking a financial hit on Medicare patients who return to them within 30 days after discharge. Of course, the hospital discharge process has never been very useful for patients or caregivers – and frankly, since they could make ever more money if patients were readmitted, then hospitals never cared to clean up their acts.  But now that it’s costing them money, hospitals are far more interested in the patient’s outcomes.  There’s a role in there for advocates – are you taking advantage of this knowledge?

The bottom line for advocates is that we MUST stay up with changes in the healthcare landscape – not just to be sure our clients are getting their best advice, but also to look for those additional marketing opportunities that come our way, too.

Have you kept up?  What other changes are you familiar with – and have you used them for marketing purposes?

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*These books are great gifts for clients. APHA members may purchase them in bulk.

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Agree? Disagree?

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