Top 10 “Best Of” APHA Posts: 2017 in Review

As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the blog posts you, my readers, considered to be most worth your reading time. Using post analytics, I’m able to see how many of you have read each of the 44 posts from 2017. Then, accommodating for the fact that some posts have been online for 11+ months, while others were just posted recently, it’s easy to tell which ones captured your imagination (or google’s search interest) to make the assessment.

So here are the top 10 posts (well – OK – I did have trouble counting again), in chronological order, the oldest to the newest:

Number 1: January

We began with our advocacy version of the State of the Union: 2017 State of Patient Advocacy and the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. We reviewed the goals we had set for 2016, how well we did (or did not!) meet them, and some plans for building our profession for 2017. These sort of posts are always interesting to look at in retrospect to see how well we might have predicted our future (which, of course, is now our past.)

How do you think we did?

Number 2: January

From there, we took a look at what 2017 might bring with The 2017 Advocate’s Challenges where we looked at manners, damaging relationships, and communication problems. These are challenges most advocates face, all of chick can be overcome.

So here we are at the end of 2017 – how did you do?

Number 3: January (yes – a good month for posts!)

This was the first of two posts on the strength of women, entitled, Hey Little Girls: Yes, Women Can Be Brilliant! which came as a result of several triggers: research results that showed little girls doubt that premise, the movie Hidden Figures (LOVED that movie!), and a revealing discovery that advocates dislike asking for testimonials, even from very happy clients.

Now, in light of these end-of-the-year revelations (or perhaps not so revelations) of so much sexual harassment in the workplace – is it any wonder?

Number 4: February

Just a few weeks into the year, and days after the inauguration, Elizabeth Warren, quoting Coretta Scott King, was forced to leave the floor of the House by Mitch McConnell. He summarily dismissed her by saying, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

I asked the question – isn’t that exactly what an advocate’s role is? Of course it is. Nevertheless, We Persist.

Number 5: February

February gave us the opportunity to look at the spiritual side of our work and why we feel compelled to be advocates, with A Career, a Profession, and a Calling with Responsibility, Too. It also suggests that just because we feel called to do our work doesn’t mean we can ignore the details of what that work entails.

Just because it’s a calling doesn’t mean it’s also a field of dreams!

Number 6: March

I took that whole Lion and Lamb thing seriously in March with a look at what I consider to be a conversation that sucks too many people in – for (what I also consider to be) no good reason. This post, called “Health Advocate” vs “Patient Advocate”: 7 Reasons the Debate Is a Waste of Time, either made people angry or caused them to wonder why it was written because they didn’t see the value to the debate either.

Why? Because if you want to, you can call yourself “Stanley”, too.

Number 7: April

April brought us an entire series. So even though this is only one post in this Top 10 list, it’s really four posts in total, as follows, needing no further explanation.

Do you have what it takes? (And – do you see now that I can’t really count? I invite you to read all 16 of the Dirty Dozen.)

The Dirty Dozen Skills, Abilities, and Attributes of Successful Health and Patient Advocates and Care Managers

Number 8: June

Starting a business on a shoestring is possible. But it very much depends on the size of your shoes, and your ability to run a business, knowing the important tasks and then, executing them. Way too many newbie advocates, those who think, “I’ve been an advocate all my life!” miss this point – to their detriment, and then, the detriment of the thousands of people they will never help because they go out of business.

So – just what do your shoestrings represent? The Most Expensive Business to Start

Number 9: August

This post presented a strange entr’: a photo of chocolate chip cookies, and a somewhat pithy title, How to Avoid P*ssing Off the Doctor in One Easy Step. And no, the way to stop making the doctor mad has nothing to do with taking cookies to him or her.

This is a problem so many advocates have, and it stains the entire profession.

Number 10: October

Back in March ( see above) we looked at the debate over what we are called, and why that debate is a waste of time. The downside of being called “patient advocates” is that we share that title with plenty of people who have very different goals from us private advocates. That is, they are all about making money from patients to help themselves, not the patients.

We took a look at that problem, and came up with a few solutions, in They’re Not Us. We’re Not Them. The Difference Is Defined by Consequences.

Bonus Number 11: November

Our last well-read post of the year was last month when we looked at 5 Lousy Excuses for Walking Away from an Advocacy Practice and 1 Very Good One. Every single one of the 5 lousy excuses is preventable, but often ignored or overlooked by those very well-meaning people who want to be independent advocates. My hope was that calling them out would help readers prepare to avoid those 5 lousy ones at all costs with a goal of creating a great platform for the good one.

Will it work for you?

So that’s it for 2017! We hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, or even better, have learned something from them. Whether you’ve agreed or disagreed, we invite you to comment, post, link to them, whatever they may move you to do. They are written (almost) every week with love to all of you, “my” advocates.

As we continue on through the season, I wish you and your families and loved ones very Happy Holidays, and the very best (and much success!) in 2018.


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