At least a half dozen times in the past few weeks I’ve been asked what it was that compelled me to begin building AdvoConnection (and, of course, The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates.) It occurs to me that even if you are a member, you may not know the story, or, even more important, how it can affect the work you do, too.
Many readers of this blog know that my two earlier careers were first, as a schoolteacher, then by the early 1980s, I transitioned to marketing. In my lifetime, I never expected to work or know anything about healthcare except as I needed such services for myself or a loved one. I didn’t even have any healthcare marketing clients – my knowledge of healthcare was limited to my personal experiences….
That was…. until my frightening, life-changing terminal diagnosis in the summer of 2004 which, for 11 weeks, led me to believe I had only a few months to live. (You can read about my misdiagnosis odyssey here.)
Over the next few years, as I studied, learned, and wrote more and more about the healthcare system’s flaws, and how patients could ramp up their own knowledge to improve their own outcomes despite those flaws, I had more and more invitations to speak to larger groups across the country about patient empowerment.
There would be dozens or hundreds of patients and caregivers at those presentations. And over and over again they would tell me variations of two stories: