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Misleading Headline Provides an Opportunity
This week the Chicago Tribune featured patient advocacy as a growing trend – a marvelous exposure to private advocacy for the uninitiated (uninitiated = most of the known universe). Several of our APHA members were mentioned in the article and for the most part, it was an excellent representation of the status of private advocacy. Except for the headline: Now, most of us are intelligent enough to know that headlines are created to suck in readers, and too often, intentionally focus on some point that doesn’t really represent the story – just draws those readers. And so it was with this headline, too. It’s unfortunate, because too many of us are guilty of seeing a headline and drawing conclusions, without ever really reading the story. There may be millions of Chicago Tribune readers who saw only the headline and didn’t read the story, and therefore won’t consider contacting a private patient advocate because – as per the headline – they think it will be too expensive to pay for that help. Sad, but true. But that headline did one thing very well. That is, it gave us a good opportunity to explore the concept of “costly” – and turn this negative into a positive. What exactly does “costly” mean? According to Dictionary.com, the word “costly” means: expensive, high in price, resulting in great detriment, or even lavish or extravagant. (it also says “of great value, sumptuous” – but I doubt that was the conclusion of most who saw that headline.) Really LOUSY choice of words – for us advocates. But certainly, a word that begged readers to look further (a goal that was far more important than accuracy for the guy who writes headlines for a living.) So here is our opportunity that results from this lousy choice of words: let’s turn it around to discuss value. What is the VALUE of paying a private advocate to help? And when we weigh the value against the real cost, do we really see any detriment? Is hiring a patient advocate truly “costly”? Let’s begin by exploring this concept of value a…