How Does a Patient Choose the Best Advocate to Hire?

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I’ve been working on updating the AdvoConnection Directory website because it was time, because search engines look favorably upon updates. And because my not-frequent-enough review of the site’s analytics produced a big surprise!

A surprise I’ll share with you here today.

To be clear – no changes were made to the actual search and profile areas – those all belong to our listed advocates who make those changes themselves.

Instead, I edited and updated the support pages – everything from the homepage to the About Us page to the “how to choose and interview an advocate” page.

For some background:  I monitor and track the advocate listing pages diligently (and encourage our listed members to monitor their own – we provide them with stats each month.)  I know people are finding our advocates in the Directory in HUGE numbers (examples: 16,000+ in January and 15,500+ in February, a shorter month, of course).

However – true confessions here – as in “do as I say, and not as I do” – I rarely look at the analytics on the basic site pages.Just not something I make time for… although as I learned this week – I should!  Because I was actually very surprised by what I learned.

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The Momma Test

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Over the years, one of my favorite things to do has been to work with / speak to / address college students. They are young, aren’t yet set in their ways, still hope to save the world, are naive to the “follow the money” aspects of healthcare and, honestly, it’s just plain fun.

Last week I had the privilege of participating in an ethics debate for a well-known and respected university in a course called Controversies in Healthcare (medical, legal, and bio ethics), to a combination group of law students and medical students, on the topic of independent advocacy – vs – hospital advocacy. My co-debater was the Director of Ombudsman at a very well-known and respected hospital system.

The idea, since it was a “controversies” class, was that we were supposed to argue that our own solutions were the better solutions, and that the opposing solution was not a good choice.

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Loaded for Bear May Mean No Care

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Last week, I received an email from a woman, I’ll call her Miranda, taking me to task for an article I had written that she found online. If Miranda had her way, I’d be walking the plank about now, or on my way to life in prison.

The article she found is about patient modesty and how it affects one’s ability to get medical care. It poses the problem, considers the roots of the situation, then offers ideas to help someone get beyond modesty hurdles in order to benefit from better medical care.

Oh, but Miranda was not happy about that article!  She graced my email inbox with a missive (out of curiosity I pasted it into a word document to see how many printed pages it would be – about 5!), as if she was the prosecutor outlining all the reasons I should get life in prison, taking me to task because I had not taken into account survivors of sexual abuse. Further, the fact that I used a car as a metaphor offended her because people aren’t cars!  (She’s right. They aren’t. I didn’t say they were. I used cars as a metaphor.) She expected me to rewrite and republish the article, and she wanted a “public apology” for being so callous and ignoring the plight of sexual abuse survivors.

Wow!

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Because Greetings Should Be All About Them

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Honestly, I’m tired of the argument.

I live and work in Florida where you would think it was some sort of national disgrace to wish someone “Happy Holidays”. As if somehow the failure to wish a “Merry Christmas” has been co-opted by political correctness as a personal insult to them.

In my (not so) humble opinion, it has gotten worse in the last couple of years. I chalk that up to the facts that (1) I didn’t live in Florida until about two years ago (and therefore heard far less vitriol than seems to be standard fare here) and (2) that we now live in a society where too many of our political leaders are focused solely on improving their own lives, incomes, and status, and not those of their constituents, as in, “It’s all about me!”

I’m just sick of it! Here’s why:

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Like Learning to Ride Your Bike…

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In an email conversation with one of our APHA mentors last week, a point that is so often lacking in the understanding of an independent advocacy practice was made:  That it usually takes 3 to 5 years to know if someone will be a successful business owner, advocacy included.

That so many advocates quit before they get there, never giving themselves a chance, really. They start out thinking it will be easy because, afterall, many been advocates for decades in previous careers…  just a simple switch to self-employment, right?

When they finally understand that the first few years are more about business than advocacy, it’s a rude awakening. When that lightbulb goes off, when they begin to understand it’s about running a business, they begin to panic.  That’s when I hear:

But I’ve never done this before!

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