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Advocacy: Dive into patient needs

Advocacy: Dive into patient needs

Ryan BullockQ. What is the impact of advocacy in health care? 

A. As a nation with the highest health care spend per capita, there’s no shortage of discussions regarding innovation and cost reduction. As health care providers, we’re uniquely positioned to see the impact on patient lives. Our position allows us to moderate proposed solutions and our voice has the power to impact change. 

Whether insurance plans have developed innovative solutions to reduce costs immediately or have developed strategies for longer term health, it’s important to develop a patient persona and dive into patient needs. As a large supplier of products and services in maternity, incontinence, and sleep space, our organization experiences gaps across all categories. 

Despite the gaps, we have enacted numerous advocacy initiatives over the years to improve patient outcomes, with the most recent being the work we completed around increasing access to milk storage bags and other vital breastfeeding supplies during the formula shortage. This resulted in mothers being able to store more milk and even share breast milk with mothers who were struggling to feed their babies during the recall.  

Even with success, we know there is more work to do because we see the power of the impact. For instance, incontinence products are typically restricted to Medicaid recipients. Incontinence products help patients maintain quality of life and independence by being able to leave the home confidently or sleep through the night. Unfortunately, less than 10% of patients who qualify for products understand that they’re covered. Those dollars are still being spent whether it’s for admission to a long-term-care facility or retail incontinence products (instead of food, water or electricity).  

Overall, the impact of advocacy is advancing the human aspect of why we are in health care. We have a desire to take care of people. When we advocate and partner on solutions, only then can we dive in.  

Ryan Bullock is COO at Aeroflow Healthcare. Reach him at [email protected].


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