Put advocacy links on your website in prominent places. As soon as we started enrolling patients, I got permission from the ACR Simple Tasks Campaign to post a link on my website. At least one of my rheumatology colleagues in Birmingham, Ala., has added advocacy links to that practice’s website, too. Make it easy for patients to find the resources they need. Also, consider posting a link to the Simple Tasks Twitter feed.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueJuly 2015
Run Simple Tasks videos in your waiting room. These videos are available on YouTube. One practice manager got a DVD from the ACR with all the Simple Task videos, and she had her waiting room TV vendor run these along with the vendor’s content. This sort of activist information helps generate conversations and questions that spur patients to become involved.
Use Simple Tasks pins. We ordered these lapel pins for everyone on staff to wear. The pins are somewhat pricey, but we also plan to give them as premiums to patients who can show us evidence of their advocacy (e.g., copy of a letter or e-mail) so they can have the equivalent of a medal for their valor in advocacy.
Identify patients who have connections, and put them to work. This didn’t really occur to me until I realized that one of my patients was once a political lobbyist and knows more mayors, state legislators and county commissioners than I could ever imagine. As one might imagine, this person has become one of our key players. Look in your practice for clergy, board members and other networked individuals who can extend advocacy for arthritis to areas beyond just your clinic patients. Be sure to specially identify these individuals, and take just an extra minute or two during their clinic visits to discuss advocacy.
Consider putting promotional messages on your phone answering device. Almost every practice I call today has some sort of promotional or instructional message that plays while the caller is on hold. Why not include advocacy messages here? It may take a little extra work to update the messages, but the subliminal impact of this technique is powerful.
Make a patient resource handout with contacts for many different advocacy groups and foundations (e.g., Lupus, Scleroderma, Sjögren’s Syndrome). You can also put links to these organizations on your website, but consider creating an advocacy page on your site if you plan to have more than just a few links; that avoids visual clutter on your website.