What You Should Know, But Haven’t Asked, about Patient Advocate Certification (And what does Goldilocks have to do with it?)

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There was big excitement last week as the launch for the first Patient Advocate Certification exam took place. From the massive email that went out on January 31 (1700+ people!) to the most-attended-ever APHA Expert Call-in called “Ask the PACB: Prep for the First Exam” – it’s clear there is huge interest in certification for our relatively new profession of health and patient advocacy.

And that’s for good reason!

As more and more people consider advocacy as a profession, it becomes imperative to identify, develop, and maintain the important standards and ethics required to keep the profession highly elevated and respected. One of the few ways we can do so is through development of a very rigorous expectation of standards and ethics, and then to make sure only the cream rises to the top through certification.

That’s what the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) has done.

During registration for the Expert Call-in, registrants were invited to ask questions about the exam. During the call, every question they had posed was answered. (Find a link to the podcast, available to the public, below.)

But there were a few questions no one asked. Their answers might support your ability to pass the exam, to earn your BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate credential), and to effectively promote your newly achieved certification when you do.

I believe the reason they weren’t asked is because of some assumptions made that are untrue. Yes – we all know about assumptions!

So here are the questions, with their answers, in no particular order. You’d do well to review them as you consider sitting for the certification exam.

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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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Mr. Pareto, Mr. Juran, Mr. Koch, Garden Peas, and Your Care Management Practice

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Chances are you’ve never heard of the three gentlemen named in today’s post title: Vilfredo Pareto, Joseph Juran, or Richard Koch.

Nor can you imagine how they – and garden peas – relate to advocacy.

Yet, the principle they have in common affects your work and ability to succeed, especially in the early days of your practice building. Unfortunately, most newly minted advocates not only don’t realize that, but they ignore it – at their peril.

So what principle am I talking about?

This post is intended to light a fire under you if who can’t figure out why you aren’t succeeding in practice despite the fact that you know you are a great advocate. Your excellent advocacy abilities may be getting in the way of your success if you think you can rest on them alone.

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The Most Expensive Business to Start

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It’s entirely possible to start a new business on a shoestring. We know this, because every publication worth the paper or website it’s published on tells us so:  Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, all of them.

It requires time, grit, determination, attention to detail, great word-of-mouth – oh – and money! More about this in a minute.

The truth is – the concept of starting a business on a shoestring depends on the size of your shoes and therefore, the length and strength of their laces. It certainly doesn’t hurt if they are made of solid-gold, and you can sell them for your seed money.

If you hear a sarcastic edge in this post, it’s for good reason. It’s born of frustration, the feeling that I’m shouting into an empty cave.  I’ve just heard from one more person who has closed up her advocacy practice because she can’t afford it anymore; this on the heels of a conversation last week with one of our APHA Mentors who asked me, “Why do people think they can start an advocacy practice with no investment? Why do they think they can do it for free?”

Good questions. GREAT questions. And sadly, representative of too much reality and too much failure. And, for today, it means I’m going to try to provide this reality check one more time.

Let’s look at that shoestring for a minute. 

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