Pancakes, Snakes, Red Flags, and Advocacy

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You don’t have to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil’s to appreciate his delightful and useful sayings. He boils down important and sometimes complex concepts into downhome philosophy that helps us better understand our fellow human beings and our lives.

Today we’re going to focus on one of those sayings to improve our ability to ferret out those clients we should not work with (yes, I said, SHOULD NOT work with):

 “No matter how flat you make your pancake, it still has two sides.”

Advocacy stories are like those pancakes. They have at least two sides, too.

I raise this today after an exchange with an APHA member about a disconcerting client experience. That came on the heels of another advocate’s experience where, because of a simple typo on her directory profile, a potential client posted a negative review of her work.

Say what? Let’s look at both stories – and, in pancake style, their flip sides.

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Fashionistas! What Hats Does an Advocate Wear?

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I played golf the other day with a group of women I didn’t know well. I came away from the round being less pleased with my golf game (I really can’t putt!), but much pleased with the conversation and its application for our health and patient advocacy profession. In fact, I was so pleased with it, I went home and recorded notes so I could remember the conversation to share with you.

The ladies I played with were very curious about advocates. They all had healthcare horror stories to share. One had recently been through some bad medical experiences with her husband. One by one throughout the morning, she told me about some healthcare system transgression he (they) had suffered. For each one, I described to her some ways an independent advocate might have helped (with the emphasis on “independent” for all the obvious reasons.)

Ultimately the conversation produced a list of “hats” – the many kinds of help and support an advocate can provide. It wasn’t a list of services, such as the list we’ve included on the AdvoConnection Directory site. Instead it was more about benefits and support.

So I share this list with you today and invite you to add to it below. Each hat completes the sentence: An (independent) advocate is a _________________.

Of course, not all advocates wear all these hats, but all advocates wear at least some of them.

So, advocate fashionistas… What hats can you add to the list?

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3 More Myths About Building a Successful Independent Advocacy Practice

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We began last week with this series of myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

As a reminder, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who just couldn’t get a practice going – who (sad to say) failed – not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

This week we have three more of those myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, helping you to get past them.

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Kickstarting 2018: The ONE Key Exercise that Will Propel Your Practice Success (and a giveaway, too!)

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Happy New Year to you! And so begins another year of improving patients’ healthcare system outcomes in one way or another, and realizing we are making a huge difference in people’s lives!

We’re going to dive right in to the new year looking at the ONE imperative exercise I have come to believe will make you successful.

Can you commit? WILL you commit? It won’t cost you money (well, OK, maybe the cost of a latte.) It will cost you some time. And it will make all the difference in the world to your practice-building, the patients who need you, and our profession, too.

The truth is:  if you want to be successful, your commitment is imperative.

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Top 10 “Best Of” APHA Posts: 2017 in Review

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As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the blog posts you, my readers, considered to be most worth your reading time. Using post analytics, I’m able to see how many of you have read each of the 44 posts from 2017. Then, accommodating for the fact that some posts have been online for 11+ months, while others were just posted recently, it’s easy to tell which ones captured your imagination (or google’s search interest) to make the assessment.

So here are the top 10 posts (well – OK – I did have trouble counting again), in chronological order, the oldest to the newest:

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