The Power of Appreciation

by Advocation Services Partners

It never ceases to amaze me how two little words — thank you — can make such a difference with healthcare providers.

If I’m lucky, physicians see me as a partner, not an adversary. However, I’m not always that lucky. Sometimes, it’s simply a look. More often, it’s a seemingly innocuous question: who are you? It’s typically left to my client to introduce me as her advocate and, depending on the tone of her introduction and how we immediately communicate with the physician, we have either set the stage for a winning partnership or a terrible disaster.

I’ve often wondered: what are providers afraid of or worried about when a patient advocate is in the picture? Are we there to gang up on the physician? Find fault? Micro-manage? Gather data for lawsuits? Sorry to disappoint you, none of that is our purpose. Our purpose is to ensure the best possible outcome for our client partially through coordinating the efforts of the entire healthcare team.

I start out assuming a physician’s main purpose is to provide the best care for the patient. For me, that means letting the physicians know how much we count on their knowledge and experience and how much we appreciate all that they do—especially when faced with an often difficult situation.

At the same time, I remind our clients that saying thank you in a multitude of ways is not to be measured in small doses. Acknowledging providers for the positive work they do makes it easier to have the difficult conversations if issues arise. Appreciation is one part of healthy communication and effectively managing the healthcare maze.

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