Advocacy is a critical component of healthcare. Educating yourself on the current advocacy efforts involving your industry will jump start your career and provide a valuable service to your community.
What is Advocacy?
An advocate is someone who uses their voice, expertise, and experience to catalyze change in the legislative and regulatory space. In healthcare, the industry trends are often tethered with legislation. It’s always changing.
As you work through a healthcare program, you study the regulations, care/payment models, and technology initiatives of today, but tomorrow will be different. Staying informed on the changes of tomorrow will prepare and supplement your education today. I graduated four years ago and the textbook my class used mentions very little of telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and social determinants of heath data collection. Yet in the past few years, those have been the focus of major legislation, which advocates across our industry helped to write.
Adding Advocacy to Your Professional Skillsets
Educating yourself is an important first step but participating in advocacy efforts will benefit you even more. To be a leader in healthcare, engaging in advocacy is a requirement. Participating early in your career will expose you to endless networking opportunities, giving you the chance to work with and learn from the leaders you aspire to be one day. You will be challenged to think critically about complex issues. You will learn communication skills and see different perspectives. Finally, you will also learn to be a valuable resource for your congressional representatives and government leaders.
The education you’re getting now will provide you an expertise in the healthcare industry that most people, including your representatives, will not have. Healthcare is complex and always changing, meaning your knowledge base will expand and evolve in the coming years of your career. But you don’t have to wait until you’re a seasoned professional to be a valuable advocate. There are benefits to a student’s fresh perspective on up-and-coming advocacy efforts and lack of indoctrination in the “old ways of doing things.”
Lastly, being an advocate to influence the change you want for tomorrow will benefit your families and communities. As professionals and patients. Those who write the legislation need perspective from students and professionals early in their career. Ultimately, it is a collaborative effort of diverse professionals, patients, and communities working to overcome the challenges we face today.
To get started, check out the AHIMA advocacy page: https://www.ahima.org/advocacy/advocacy/
By: Paul Miles, EKU Health Services Graduate
RHIA – KHIMA Advocacy Chair
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