“Be the Dork” Background-
Question for you. How many have you have ever been walking around and came across the most gorgeous person ever with what amounts to the world’s biggest goofball (I’m of course using PG-13 terms here)? Now, how many of you thought to yourself why is that gorgeous person with them and not me? I fully admit that this scenario has happened to me on multiple occasions and has caused hours and hours of quite contemplation on my part.
Now, I’m guessing if everyone that is reading this is completely honest with himself or herself, they have experienced this same situation too. We automatically assume that something must be wrong with that gorgeous person for them to end up with someone like that. It seems to be a natural question to ask; none of us think that the goofballs in the world should end up with the gorgeous people…they should be with us since we work so hard at not being “that” person.
Thanks to the wise logic of a fellow ski instructor named Miguel however; I now see the error in my logic. The question should not be why is the gorgeous person with that dork; the question should be how could I become that dork/goofball. As Miguel calls it, this is the “Be the Dork” theory. Yes, I am totally and completely advocating that we all strive to become a dork or goofball. We need to learn from and respect the goofballs of this world and not be jealous or envious of their accomplishments.
The Idea of Patient Compensation-
Last Sunday, I was participating in Dana Lewis’s regular tweet chat (#hcsm) when the topic of patient compensation came up. Specifically the conversation revolved around the idea of should patients be compensated for their time when they are advocating or designing for healthcare change. Also, if patients were to be compensated for their time would that take away from the authenticity of being a patient. To put it another way, should there be a professional patient job title.
Most chronic patients would argue that they are already professional patients considering the time and costs they have to endure. As most already know, even being a mild chronic patient can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment with our current health care system. These costs do not include time away from work, costs of lifestyle/diet changes, or the amount of time wasted just sitting in an office waiting room. It is incredibly expensive to be a patient in this country’s health care system.
Considering these astonishing costs, most patients in the tweet chat thought that all patients should be compensated for their time and advocacy efforts. The idea of winning some of our money back is appealing I must admit. Also, traveling to medical conferences, paying for things like webinars, or getting a patients story out can be extremely costly. Advocacy, in any form, can also resemble a full-time job if the advocate is not careful with their time and effort too.
Several of the doctors and some patients that were participating in the tweet chat had concerns about the data that might be generated from a professional patient. They wondered if a patient could continue to be objective and patient-centered if they were cashing a check from a drug company for example. Their argument revolved around the idea that the most powerful weapon for change in our current health care model is the patient story and they do not want that to be tarnished by money.
“Be the Dork” + Patient Access to Compensation
As odd as it sounds, I believe we can use Miguel’s “Be the Dork” theory when considering the idea of patient compensation. Yes, patients need to think more like the dork or goofball so we can end up with the gorgeous person, i.e. health care, more often.
How can patients think more like a dork or goofball you might be asking? First, the idea of compensation is great but it should not be a major concern for a patient advocate. Access, not compensation, should be the ultimate goal of any advocate (goofball). The dork gets the gorgeous person because they are willing to give access to themselves as individuals. Without access, there would be no gorgeous people. These dorks are not shy about who they are, what they want, or whom they want in their lives. Contrary to popular opinion, the dorks are the confident ones that the gorgeous people are attracted too. Current epatient leaders (dorks) realize that gaining access to medical students, doctors, or administrators for example is far more important in bringing about positive change than being compensated for their time.
Secondly, dorks are not shy about using geek tools, like Social Media, in order to get their message out. Dorks realize that it is their individual story that keeps the gorgeous people interested in them and not flashy items like cars, houses, or money. They become experts at using Twitter or Facebook to sell themselves as people and not a thing. A dork would find away to sell their Social Media skills in order to gain access to an expensive webinar for example. Dorks are proud of using geek tools in order to succeed; they do not care about any social stigma that might be attached to them by using them.
Finally, a dork does not ask what is wrong with this gorgeous person since they are with me. The dork is grateful for the opportunity to be with this person and looks for ways to make the bond stronger. They want to become more engaged with the gorgeous person, not less. Patients need to follow this lead. Instead of looking for opportunities to be compensated for their time they need to work on becoming more engaged with the health care system (gorgeous person).
P.S. This patient dork has some exciting news about a future speaking opportunity! Stay tuned 🙂