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Using Advocacy Specialties to Create Niches
When I glance at the many topics our AdvoConnection members post about in the Forum, I find certain people posting on certain kinds of topics. That leads me to believe that they have special interests – or expertise – in those topics…. Which leads me to thinking that the patients and caregivers who are hiring them have interest in those topics, too. So why not use them in marketing? For example: One such topic has developed around interest in integrative approaches to care. At least one of the health advocacy educational programs was developed to focus strictly on integrative care. A handful of our member advocates have taken coursework, or have otherwise developed special interests in integrative care – and I know from questions that come to me from patients that they are interested in integrative care, too. Another topic is pain management. With doctors appointments becoming more difficult to come by, and with fear mounting on the parts of doctors that they will lose their licenses for prescribing pain meds – having special expertise in pain management (complementary approaches such as acupuncture, guided imagery and others) is something patients and caregivers may be seeking more and more. A third topic is mental health. A patient who has continual, unresolved physical health needs may, in fact, have mental health needs that have not yet been identified. An advocate who studies or works in this area can help in ways someone who does not better understand the ties between mental and physical health cannot, and can work to have a patient assessed by a mental health provider. There may be others that aren’t so obvious – but the minute you talk about them to a potential client, the lightbulb may go off: A patient who continues to experience new, unsettling symptoms may need his or her medications reviewed for conflicts, or may simply need a schedule drawn and a reminder system set up. You can arrange for such a review. A patient who is continually calling on an adult child for help for not-such-big-things may actually be depressed and may need…