Celebrating the 5th Annual Private Professional Patient Advocates Week

pppawheaderOur Fifth Annual Private Professional Patient Advocates Week is this week – March 16 to 22 -and I’m here to share tales of the growth of our profession.

Can it be that patient advocacy as a profession is now so “old” ? Granted, there were a handful of advocates practicing long before we began to quantify and qualify the profession. The year 2009, with the launch of NAHAC and APHA / AdvoConnection, marked the beginning of the growth that would make us a recognized profession across North America.

Some background:

From the 30-ish people who joined AdvoConnection in 2009 – for free! – with a belief that this might be an interesting alliance full of possibilities – to the almost 550 members of APHA today, and dozens more who aren’t yet on our current radar… yes, growing.

So, as I did last year, I thought I’d share a profile of our membership and achievements:

  • We hail from 38 states and 2 Canadian provinces, with more members from California than any other state or province.)
  • We are international, with members from 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.
  • Our APHA members provide at least 40 unique services to their clients.
  • About half our membership is signed up to use our APHA Forum where we discuss every topic imaginable (the other half could participate, too, but they’ve never signed up.)
  • We have held 50 teleconferences with experts to help members build their practices.
  • The Alliance and AdvoConnection have been mentioned in the likes of O Magazine, Health Magazine, Forbes, CBS TV, CNN and others. Its members have benefited from dozens of local press mentions.

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, 2015) we have seen:

  • Visits from 143,000+ individuals – patients and caregivers.
  • In our first full month of launch, October 2009, we had 358 visits to the Directory. That was an average of 11-12 people searching each day.
  • Our highest month for visits came in January 2015 with 4,073 unique visits to the Directory, followed by February when we had 3,876 (but remember, February had only 28 days while January has 31). That’s an average of 138 patients and caregivers a day looking for assistance with healthcare system challenges. (Are they finding you?)

Additional advancements since 2009:

What all this means:

Patient advocacy as a service to patients and caregivers is a burgeoning career. In addition to the facts above, several additional indicators have become apparent just in the last month. For example, we know now that AdvoConnection has new competitors in the directory space. We’re being mimicked, too. Sales of So You Want to Be a Patient Advocate?: Choosing a Career in Health or Patient Advocacy are very brisk. And, word came this week through our APHA Forum that a new TV pilot called The Advocate is being made for the ABC Network.

This next year is going to be pivotal in our growth…. I believe a year from now those numbers above will explode. If you aren’t already working toward becoming a private advocate, then this is THE time to jump in!

If you’re not yet a part of those landmarks listed above  join us!

And if you are already out there, every day, assisting patient-clients to help them get what they need from the healthcare system, I thank you. Please know how much I appreciate the important work you do.

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Share your experience or join the conversation!


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