Archive for August, 2011

What Shall We Call Ourselves?

August 28, 2011 8 comments

I’ve just returned from a marvelous week visiting with, and participating in, patient empowerment and advocacy experiences that included activities like video, webinars, panel discussions and pot luck dinners. A whirlwind!

More impressive, however, is the variety of interests and skills of the wonderful people I met and worked with.  From patients, to patient safety experts, to providers, to educators, to administrators, to hospital employees, to – yes – patient advocates.

You can imagine the discussions that took place!  During the week, my brain was going a million-thoughts-per-hour as we covered dozens of topics related to both empowerment and advocacy.  So many great ideas were shared, with some grand ideas for moving forward to help patients.

One theme popped up almost as much as any other;  that is – the confusion over the title “patient advocate” and what it means to those who want to become one – or may need one.

This is not a new question. In fact, in meeting many of you over the past few years, the same concern has arisen…. exactly what is a patient advocate?  How can we use the same title for a medical/navigational advocate as we use for the person who reviews and adjusts medical bills?  or the same title as the person who volunteers for the local (name your disease) charitable organization? or the person who is supposed to provide customer service type services in the hospital (but is employed by the risk management department to allay lawsuits?)  etc etc.

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A Patient Advocate Is Just Like….

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

In a conversation with a group of friends, Lisa told us she has decided to buy her first house. She feels like the market is right – prices are low, interest rates are low – so why not take the plunge?

We responded by providing advice to her based on our own experiences with buying homes. “Be sure to get it inspected.” “Shop around for mortgage rates.” “Sign a contract with a buyer’s agent, otherwise your interests won’t really be represented.” “Beware of shortsales and bank repos because I’ve heard really bad things about those on the news.” … and more …

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The Option of Saying “NO”

August 15, 2011 1 comment

Several months ago I wrote about the tendency of big-hearted advocates to over-extend themselves with volunteer work; that when someone needs their help, but doesn’t have the means to pay them, they don’t know how to say “no.” We looked at some of the ways to get past that inability in order to keep our businesses moving forward.

Truth is, that is only one of the circumstances where “no” is the right answer.  That’s true whether it is us, as professional advocacy business owners who must choose to say no, or whether we must help our clients choose “no” if it is possibly the right answer for them.

The business “no” is not unusual and will seem very simple once you understand it.

But the client “no” is often overlooked – and you truly owe it to your clients to not only understand it, but to help them understand, and sometimes embrace it, too.

Here’s a business “no” example:

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