Recently, We The Patients partnered with Say Ah! and Speaker Corey Johnson to host a Health Advocacy Academy workshop promoting civic engagement in the health care system.
We covered a variety of topics centering around how to build skills as a health care consumer. The first of these skills was storytelling: how to tell your story, why it’s important, and what to talk about. Say Ah’s Tomi Sontan notes that some topics are just uncomfortable to speak about with a doctor. However, as consumers, we should feel comfortable asking for change and to not be shy about our health. By telling your health care story, you can not only raise public awareness for what you’re going through, but also even lead to policy change.
In fact, we’ve seen this happen for us. As We The Patients’ Emily Dore explains, when the New York Times picked up CSSNY’s report on the volume of patients being sued by hospitals for small outstanding charges, we saw some huge changes. The Northwell Hospital system, one of the main contributors to this statistic, soon announced that they would be rescinding thousands of lawsuits against New Yorkers, many of whom were immigrants, low-income residents, or unrepresented consumers.
Our health care system has grown incredibly complex, and even your health care provider may not understand how everything works. As a result, many of us are illiterate in the face of our modern health care system. Say Ah!’s Anna Allen shares another skill: being open and honest with your provider. With as much information as possible about your health, your doctor can understand your condition and do their best to help you receive the care you need. You should set goals for your appointments, and make sure you show up prepared with accurate information about your own health. And if you ever need to research something, check out medlineplus.org for accurate health information.
It is essential to be kind but firm; you should make sure that you’re getting what you want out of an appointment! Consumers have power, and they can create change.
Thanks to all who came!
Watch the full recording here: