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How Is Patient Advocacy Like Doing the Laundry?
Would you ever hire someone to do your laundry? Many of us would answer Yes! Of course! — IF we had the money. A big IF! I suspect, however, that most of us would say no, knowing that washers and dryers make it easy to get the family laundry done, even if we dislike the task. Further, we all think we know how to get our clothes clean (short of occasional coffee and ketchup stains). Even if we feel laundry-challenged, it doesn’t seem to be enough of a problem that we would actually pay someone else to do it. However, last week I met a gentleman, Mr. Santello, who had just hired a woman named Gloria to do his laundry. It turns out that finding someone to wash, dry, and sometimes iron his clothes was more of a challenge than he expected. He said he called 11 different people before finding Gloria, and even then, he had to agree to her “exorbitant prices.” Why was it so hard for Mr. Santello to find someone to do his laundry? And how does that apply to patient advocacy? We have to remember that Gloria isn’t just doing laundry. She is in the BUSINESS of doing laundry. Like advocacy, she provides a SERVICE business that requires her commitment of time, plus expenses like detergent, gas for her car, or marketing, and equipment like her washer, dryer, and iron. When she takes into account her time and all her expenses, she has figured that she must charge Mr. Santello $100 a week. Most of us would never consider hiring someone to do our laundry at $100 a week. Gloria’s “exhorbitant prices” just aren’t worth it to us. We don’t VALUE the service of doing laundry enough to pay so much for it because we think we can do it ourselves. That’s good enough. And that is the key: VALUE. Is a Patient Advocacy Practice Different from Laundry Service? Unfortunately, for most potential clients, the service of advocacy is not unlike laundry service. That’s because patients don’t realize that they don’t know what they don’t…