Some High Profile Marketing and a Review Opportunity, Too

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Deviating from my usual advice or issues-type post, I have a couple of invitations for you today.  In both cases you’ll be helping yourself and helping future health or patient advocates, too.

Invitation #1:

Tell a success story.  Many of you know that (in my “other life”) I write about patient empowerment – issues, concerns, advice and tips.  One thing I am reminded of every day is that many people have no idea that such a service as private patient advocacy exists. They may even see references to patient or health advocates or navigators who can help them weather their medical care challenge storms.  But because we don’t have a lot of public examples, they don’t understand when such a service might be useful to them.

I want everyone to have an advocate – just like everyone knows a real estate agent to call, or knows when it’s time to call their lawyer or someone to help with their taxes.  Especially with the confusion of the upcoming implementation of healthcare reform, having a private advocate to call will become a necessity.

So how do we accomplish that more widespread realization on the part of patients and caregivers that the help they need is out there and ready to help them?

This time we’re going to leverage the power of storytelling combined with the several hundred pageviews a month that come to my patient empowerment articles.  And when I say “we” – I hope you are going to pitch in!

If you are a professional advocate – please tell a story of a patient whose outcomes improved because you were there to help out You don’t need to tell a long or complicated story. You can tell about one successful aspect of your work even for a client who required extensive services.  Just provide a good example of something you were able to accomplish that improved that client’s experience with the healthcare system.  And – you can sign your name and designate your location, if you would like to (not required – but that’s the marketing part!)

Invitation #2:

Provide a review.  You may know about the website AdvoConnection sponsors that lists and provides information about all the advocacy education programs, events and organizations available to help promote our chosen career field.  Called Health Advocate Programs (original, right?) – it lists every known opportunity for furthering the skills and knowledge of advocates of all flavors.

If you have been a student of any patient or health advocacy program, or if you have ever attended one of the listed events, or if you have been a member of any of the organizations – we would like your opinion about them!  By providing a brief review, you’ll be helping others decide what is worth their time, energy and money – AND – for those programs that have not met or exceeded your expectations, you’ll be helping them improve their offerings.

There are a few rules and parameters (like – you can choose whether or not to identify yourself publicly) – so take a look at the review information.  You can either link directly to the review form, or, you can find your way to the listing of the program, event or organization you’ve participated in, and find a link to make your review from there.

So that’s it!  Two invitations – to help yourself and to help others.

——————- LEARN MORE ——————-


Advocacy, Politics and the 2012 Elections

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I’ve been in Florida for the past week, working, advocating, feeling my jaw clench and my back go up each time I’ve seen or heard a commercial or watched a newscast that focuses on one of the Republican primary candidates.  (As an aside – it’s not because they are Republican – it’s because the commercials are so nasty, denigrating, and insulting or because the candidates or their henchmen say such nasty, denigrating, insulting things about each other.)

Florida, of course, is the next primary state, to where all the candidates will  rush once the results are in from South Carolina. Even though they aren’t here yet, they have already ramped up the vitriol.  It’s not pretty. And to my ears, it’s abusive.

Since this is my first APHA – AdvoConnection blog post written during a presidential campaign, I thought it might be wise to raise the issue of the profession of health advocacy and the discussion of politics.

I have a one word piece of advice for combining the two:  DON’T.

Especially during the next 10 months when every discussion of healthcare will be colored by the national elections, trying to discuss the topic with a potential client, or even an already-client, will be dangerous at best, and may be cause for losing not just that one client, but all potential future clients affected by that one’s word-of-mouth.

Continue Reading →


Coopetition – But Don’t Give Away the Farm

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Many of you know that prior to devoting my career to patient empowerment and patient advocacy, I owned a marketing company that worked specifically with professionals and small businesses. I had clients of every flavor, from manufacturing companies to hair salons, from lawyers to book authors, to cookie-bakers and small distribution companies – a gamut.

An important part of my work was mentoring – helping others who wanted to be in business grasp the basic concepts that were necessary, helping them apply those concepts to their own fields, then jump in with both feet. I truly enjoyed the many “a-ha” moments my mentoring created.

I heard one day from one of my mentees (I’ll call her Carla), a hairdresser.  Her shop had been open for about two years, was doing well, was very popular, and she was just getting ready to sink some big money into expanding it.  More space, new services, high-end products, additional personnel and more. Gangbusters.

About six months before that call, a young woman, Laura, had contacted her, asking to interview Carla about owning a shop.  Carla invited her to stop by and the two chatted for about an hour. She had enjoyed the experience and felt they had a lot in common.

But now Carla was beside herself. So upset!  Continue Reading →


Watching the Headlines for Opportunities

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A link on Twitter precipitated today’s post and idea for you.  It contains a challenge, too!  See below.

The tweet linked to a news article: A second set of eyes cuts errors at HCMC.  It tells about an initiative at Hennepin County Medical Center (Minneapolis) that cut the medication errors found in patients’ discharge paperwork from 92 percent – to zero. 0.  Nada. No medication errors.  Impressive.

Now, if you or your patient-client happens to be discharged from Hennepin County Medical Center, that’s great news.

But the article got me wondering – what about the other 99.999 percent of discharged hospital patients in the world?  How many other hospitals have such horrendously dangerous medication error rates in the discharge paperwork given to their departing patients?

And then an a-ha moment…  Continue Reading →


A One Word Resolution for All Advocates

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Greetings at the top of new year, with hopes you had a great holiday season and you’re getting prepped for success in 2012.

I always feel a bit of inertia after taking a break, or a vacation, or when my world has slowed down for some deep breath-taking for awhile…. that is, my body at rest still wants to stay at rest!  And when I hear about “resolutions” – geesh – that sounds too much like work.

So, as we are bombarded by media talking about this resolution or that, I have one simple one for many of you – not much work at all.  There will be some of you who find this suggestion already ingrained in your lexicon.  But for others, it’s a habit worth breaking, or a good one worth establishing, for a few different reasons.

That habit is breaking the use of the word “patient” when we talk about the people we work with.  If you use that term, then today is your day to stop.  Instead, shift to using the word “client.”

Why?  Continue Reading →

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