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Friday, February 11, 2011

What empowers patient health care advocacy?

Patients advocates are revolutionizing heath care. They are taking a road less traveled to make the path easier for others.

I believe it goes beyond caring for the human beings, there is a compassion in the advocates soul that cannot be defined by words.

Patient advocates are laying the foundation in opening communication with the health care community.

We are becoming the voice of many who are too exhausted by the health care system to speak for themselves. We are active listeners. WE LISTEN. Many health care providers do not have the time to actively and fully listen to a patient. When a health care provider on average has 10 minutes of time devoted to patient care, including the physical exam, and documentation it does not leave enough time for active listening.

Patient Advocates are able to listen in several ways that physicians are not. We are blogging, we are making known how our daily life if affected by disease, this enables other patients to interact and gives us an opportunity to listen to their experiences. We are active users of Facebook and Twitter, helpful tools for active listeners. We are letting patients process and work through their disease. We are developing relationships through social media that are spilling over to more traditional ways of communicating. The telephone! My long distance bill has dramatically increased over the years, and every time I pay my enormous bill I look over who the I have listened too, patients from all over the United States and as far as South Africa. Each phone call always ends with the words “Thank you for taking the time to listen”.

Why do we advocate, and take the time to listen? I am willing to bet that each of the leading patient advocates have asked themselves at one time or another why do we bother? Advocates gain wisdom from listening, advocates are educational sponges trying to soak up and process information. We voice this information to everyone around us. We get our energy from expressing and communicating. We don’t let our disease define us, but rather we take control of our lives in a proactive way that serves others.

Our reward is seeing relationships build and communication opening within the health care community. We are partners in the health care team that are making the future better for others.

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