Plenty of Disruption at the PPAI Conference

It was an incredible collection of professionals representing a wide spectrum of private and hospital advocacy. Men, women, younger (20-somethings), older (70-somethings), newbies (“I’m still thinking about it”) and veterans (“I’ve been doing this for 20 years!”). Bedside advocates, hospital advocates, billing and claims advocates, mediators, nurses and nurse practitioners, lawyers, x-ray technicians, social workers, CPAs, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends…

And they are all disruptive – and are now more committed to continuing disruption than ever.

Such was the PPAI (Professional Patient Advocate Institute) Conference held last week in Orlando. It was a marvelous event, the speakers were incredibly knowledgeable, and the venue was terrific.

But disruption? Let me explain.

I was honored to be the keynote speaker at this incredible gathering, invited by Anne Llewellyn who headed up the conference planning. When I asked Anne what she’d like me to focus on, she replied, “Set the stage for the day… be the cheerleader!”

While I have NO problem being a cheerleader for my favorite profession in the world, I knew that I couldn’t just stand there for 45 minutes with my invisible pom-poms and yell “Go Team!”

So, instead I decided to focus on how and why I think health advocates of all flavors are being successful, and how we will develop a permanent foothold in healthcare in the future. In effect – you would never go into court without a lawyer… Or invest a large portion of your financial future without seeking some advice… right? Well, it won’t be long before patients won’t attempt to seek serious medical care without an advocate, either.

Why? Because patients and caregivers are learning about the positive effect we can have on their care decisions, and we are becoming one of the most positively disruptive reasons they are finding improved outcomes from the system.

The term “disruption” of a business system may be new to you. It is used to describe any force that comes from outside a system that makes a major change to the system – good or bad. While it’s usually applied to technology, and is most often applied to changes the system considers negative, it often leads to positive change as the system adapts.

We patient advocates are creating just that – positive changes. And our clients love us, which means the system will learn to adapt.

OK – so that all sounds business talky… but during my talk I broke it down so it wasn’t just that. I also talked about what makes an advocate positively disruptive, how advocates can use the concept of disruption to move their practices forward, then even made a few crystal ball predictions for the future. My pom-poms were invisible, yes, but they were there in spirit.

If you attended the conference, you know PPAI has provided a copy of my powerpoint for you to review if you are interested further.

If you didn’t attend and you are a member of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, and would like to see the slides, I’ve put an edited copy (pdf) online, linkable from your membership dashboard. Just login to find it.

Many thanks to Anne Llewellyn and her PPAI team for the opportunity to address this most outstanding group of advocates. Private professional advocacy took a major step forward and I was honored to be the designated cheerleader.

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