Thrills – and Some Frustration – as We Recognize Private Professional Patient Advocates Week 2014

This year, March 3 to 9th, marks our Fourth Annual Private Professional Patient Advocates Week – capping the 5th year of existence of AdvoConnection and the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. Congratulations to us! (Back patting and hugs all around….)

It’s easy to see why we are thrilled.

From the 30-ish people who joined the organization right away, taking a leap of faith (and, OK, there was no cost involved!) that this might be an interesting alliance to be part of in 2009, and with a keen interest in growing an almost non-existent profession… to the almost 500 members of APHA today (OK, as of this morning we have 494 members) – you can see how the profession is growing. Including the fact that there are probably a couple hundred folks who are interested and/or are performing advocacy-related services that aren’t members of the Alliance.)

A profile of our membership and achievements:

  • We hail from 34 states and 2 Canadian provinces. (With more members from California than any other state or province.)
  • We are international, with members from each of Australia, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the UK.
  • We represent advocates who have been performing advocacy services for 30+ years, those who are just exploring the opportunity to perform advocacy services as a business, and everywhere in between.
  • About half our membership is signed up to use our Forum where we discuss every topic imaginable (the other half could participate, too, but they’ve never signed up.)
  • We have held 40 teleconferences with experts to help members build their practices.
  • We have showcased at least 50 media mentions for our members just in the past two years.
  • The Alliance and AdvoConnection have been mentioned in the likes of O Magazine, Health Magazine, Forbes, CNN and others.

Some AdvoConnection stats:

The AdvoConnection Directory is the premier marketing activity the Alliance uses to help patients and caregivers find our members. Since launching the directory in late 2009, (through March 1, 2014) we have seen:

  • Visits from 80,953 different people who viewed a total of 285,612 pages on the site.
  • In our first full month of launch, October 2009, we had 358 visits to the Directory.
  • Our highest month for visits came within the next month after the new directory design was launched in October 2013 – 3,841 visits. (That was a bit of an anomoly since we had about 3200 the month before and 3300 the month after.)
  • In the past month we have seen 3,543 visits – people looking to find an advocate who can help them or their loved ones.

These numbers are so very exciting! So you can see why I say I’m thrilled to see the growth of our profession…

But I admit to a little bit of a frustration, too. Because – in my heart of hearts, I really thought we would have made a bigger splash – by now. I was hopeful that – by now – the concept of private advocacy would be more mainstream than it is among the general public. And since it has not become more mainstream, not nearly enough patients are getting the extra assistance they need. And that has always been my goal – to be sure that as many patients as need us, can find us and hire us to help.

But – please understand – I’m not disheartened! NO – Not at all. The numbers, quality, scope and expertise of private, independent advocates are most definitely growing, and every day more patients and caregivers are finding the help they need. It’s important you do not take my frustration as any indication of a problem, because there is no problem at all. We continue to make important strides.

What I am most thrilled about is the fact that – if you are reading this post – you already know the positive contribution your work can make to the health and choices of the people you have worked with, and those people you will work with in the future. They are so very blessed to have you in their lives!

So – sound the trumpets once again to recognize the valuable contributions private, professional patient advocates make to others – and toast to the continued growth of this important profession.

And if you’re not yet a part of those landmarks listed above – join us!

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Share your experience or join the conversation!


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