How to Overcome the Biggest Challenge in Patient Advocacy Today

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How to Overcome the Biggest Challenge in Patient Advocacy Today

A few weeks ago at the WASHAA Annual Meeting (Washington State Health Advocacy Association) I was asked my opinion on the biggest challenges in patient advocacy as we turn the corner to 2016. I didn’t hesitate with my answer. I know exactly what those huge challenges are. So I shared my answer, which I’ll also share with you in a minute. As an individual, your answers might be slightly different from the ones I see. You might consider your biggest challenges to be recognition of the profession by potential clients, the ability to get people to pay for your services, the juggling of business as well as your advocacy work, time management – or many others. (What DO you think are your biggest challenges?  Please comment to let us know.) My answers came from the overall profession point-of-view. What challenges and hurdles do we see from the macro, 30,000 foot view of the profession of private advocacy?  Here they are in reverse order – the most easily solvable and achievable through to the tallest hurdle we need to overcome. 3.  No patient advocacy certification. Some will tell you the lack of certification is a huge blockade – and it is. However, national / international certification is in the works, has made great strides in the last year, and is now within sight.  Learn more about the status of patient advocacy certification. 2.  Not enough advocates with business savvy. There are hundreds of thousands of people performing advocacy tasks available in the United States and Canada on any given day. The key is that most are not doing it privately, for pay. They are family members and neighbors. They are nurses and doctors and social workers who work in medical practices, hospitals, nursing homes, labs…. But they are not professional, privately paid advocates, independent of the healthcare “machine” that forces them to make recommendations they would not otherwise make. Among those who are working as private advocates, or plan to do so soon, not nearly enough have the business skills required to sustain a practice.  Among them, a certain percentage will…


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