2017 State of Patient Advocacy and the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates

As we kick off 2017, let’s look at the past year in review. What is the status of this profession of health and patient advocacy? How well is APHA serving the needs of patient-clients and its members?

We began 2016 with a similar reality check. The bottom line was that our profession is growing, but not nearly fast enough! The need for our services is so very much larger than the number of people to fill it. That status has not improved; in fact, the need is bigger than ever before.

In that same vein, but without including the more “ancient” history that post included, here are some stats for you to peruse this year, in hopes you’ll see the need to launch your own advocacy practice (if you haven’t already done so) – or expand its scope (if you are already in practice) – in order to be there for the vast numbers of patient-clients and caregivers who need us.

From January 1 to December 31, 2016:

  • 57,408 searchers (patient-clients and caregivers) performed 73,143 searches for advocates. (in 2015, those numbers were 47,082 and 59,950)
  • As of December 31, 2016, APHA membership reflected 631 members (2015 = 612) including 224 who are listed in the AdvoConnection Directory (2015 = 230)

So look at this math:

The bottom line has not changed: We need MORE advocates. We need YOU!

Last year I offered a list of goals for APHA and the support it provides to increase the numbers and quality of our advocates. Their outcomes were mixed. As is always true in healthcare, too – many unexpected circumstances arose to affect those outcomes. Never did I anticipate (nor plan for!) the grand hacking that took place in February (21 hacked websites, including 16 related to APHA and advocacy). Nor did I anticipate the personal challenge of moving 1200 miles (which means our main offices moved too.)?

The only thing that remains constant is the unexpected. We can always count on having to deal with circumstances we don’t anticipate!

That said, we did complete several of the goals we set out:

  • We completed the update and relaunch of our APHA membership site, fulfilling that promise – in spades! If you are a member, you should have transitioned to the new site by now (located at www.myAPHA.org )? If you are not an APHA member – take a spin and see what you see (tour the beginner member, PACE, from here – or tour the more advanced membership, Premium, from here.)
  • We established our new discussion forum – great networking! – APHA Connect! Members posted 982 times on 180 different topics during 2016. (Such useful information shared with each other.)
  • APHA Business and Marketing workshops were held in Orlando, San Diego, and Philadelphia, expanding networking and learning opportunities for all attendees.

So what can we look forward to in 2017? In a nutshell, through APHA, expansion of it all with an eye on:

  • building the numbers of advocates who can serve patient-clients to get what they need from a healthcare system that will become even more confusing and frustrating (a prediction based on the outcomes of the 2016 elections.)
  • expanding the new client services information on the newly revised myAPHA membership site – medical-navigational, billing and claims, and research resources and support
  • updated and upgraded learning opportunities for all members, including a revamp of our great workshop offerings, and some online learning opportunities, too.
  • and more!

If you are already a member of APHA, you know that we constantly ask for your input on ways we can continue to serve your knowledge needs. You can always shoot us a quick email, or you can find the Suggestion Box at myAPHA.

If you are not a member of APHA, then what are you waiting for? Learn more about the benefits membership can bring to you, and the many ways we can support the establishment or growth of your independent, private practice.

A grand toast to 2017 to you – and a wish for mutual success of the grand trilogy: patient-clients, advocates, and the healthcare system, too.


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APHA Blog : The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates
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