*Disclaimer: I used my phone mic to type out this blog post earlier. It’s an endless stream of brain vomit. I needed to just get a blog post out–and this is what I ended with. Excuse the rambling, incoherent thoughts.
So here’s the thing: I feel like I have so much in my head that I want to blog about and I feel like the lack of doing so is the culmination of a lot of different issues but at the backbone of all of this is such a strong desire to build this blog. Sometimes I ask myself why can’t I make a living traveling around, going to conferences, live tweeting, live blogging, and raising awareness for epatients and patient advocacy. I’m not saying that I’ll never be able to do exactly that, however, there are pros and cons to that as a full-time lifestyle choice.
I go in phases on how much I am able to dedicate to this passion of mine. However, I never truly feel fulfilled unless I am dedicating a solid amount of my time to this advocacy work and to this idea of spreading awareness through social media and digital communications.
All that was a pretty jumbled and incoherent way for me to say that I’m going to continue to try hard to be in this blog space more frequently and to not only spend the time that I do on social media talking about epatient advocacy but also doing more and producing more tangible results of that same advocacy. So yet again I am sorry that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been in this space talking to you all, but here I am.
My last post talked a lot about struggling with depression and I think in the past month or so there’s been a lot of different reasons why that depression has, for lack of a better phrase, reared its ugly head. I recently read an article from BuzzFeed that was actually a legitimate description of this health issue of depression and anxiety. Typically BuzzFeed is used for funny jokes or memes but this article was so spot on that I could’ve sworn that the author climbed into my head and wrote a list of 16 characteristics about my life. The interesting part about this article is it gives such an accurate description on when you get anxiety over wanting to do something, yet not doing it because the depression is making you not feel like doing it. It’s a vicious cycle.
Switching topics here. All the above is to say, I’ve had the following swirling around in my head so much lately. And I just haven’t written. And I’m trying to fight through that.
I think the popular and almost buzzword in healthcare lately is patient engagement or patient experience. That’s not to say that this is a negative thing, however so often buzzwords don’t transpire into legitimate change. Engaging patients in healthcare is not only the “cool thing to do” but also something that our healthcare system is severely lacking. I always tell people that it’s funny to me to not include patients in the conversation because a healthcare system would cease to exist without those patients. Being someone that works in healthcare I understand the business side of the system and that money has to be made and businesses have to thrive. However, at the end of the day healthcare is a little bit different because you’re dealing with an actual life at hand or you’re dealing with an actual disease at hand and every hand that touches that issue is human. So how do we do this?
Social media and digital communications offer us such a unique opportunity within healthcare. The minute you go to social media with something you want to say, hundreds of thousands of people have seen what you want to say. This can obviously be a negative consequence of social media, however when you use it accurately that power is life-changing.
Not entirely sure what the theme of this blog post is and I apologize LOL. I think what I’m trying to get at is how do we start to approach this problem with not only a scope of work but tangible goals and results. What do we do in order to make patient experience and patient engagement the legitimate first step for a healthcare system, for a doctor, or for any other healthcare professional? I don’t necessarily think there is a black-and-white answer to this. But we have to start somewhere.
As a patient, I wish my doctors read my blog, or followed me on social media. Because I’m so candid, they would get such a hands-on approach to my care. Instead, we deal with having to start from the beginning and tell the same historical story every time. What’s the harm in getting our physicians more engaged with their patients? Is it fear? HIPAA? As someone who works in social media for a major healthcare system, there are ways to do this and to do it well without violating any kind of privacy laws. So is our problem ignorance over these potential solutions?
And here’s a question: can we cause an overwhelming systemic change or shift from individual levels? Can this shift occur when the parties involved are all gunning for different goals?
I think, yes. I don’t have the answers, but I fight everyday to make those invisible voices heard, including my own.
So here’s my goal after a post that is so full of rambling and incoherent thoughts. I wanted to provide new ways to share my voice. Sometimes I think this could include video or audio blog posts or written word or social media or a podcast or a live stream; at the end of the day the medium doesn’t matter as much as the variety in which I get my point across and reach the masses.
That’s what I aim to do in 2016 (and I’ll do a more comprehensive post about my New Year thoughts soon): share this voice, and act as a voice where others don’t have one, in various channels, through various means, to advocate for the patients over the system.
If the system wants to practice what it preaches in being patient-first, or patient-centric, then I suggest they pay attention and play along.
More soon. xo,