If You Don’t Tell Them, Who Will?

Many readers know that the advocates whose profiles are found in the AdvoConnection Directory are members of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. They are professionals who serve clients everyday, solving problems with the healthcare system or the cost of accessing that system. Or, as those patients who reach out to us claim, they are angels.

What you may not know is that we publish blog posts and guidance for our advocates, too. Once a week or so, we post to the APHA Blog, with advice, best business practices, or more generally just good ideas – helping our APHA members help you.

…. which sets the stage for today’s post here at AdvoConnection. Because if you don’t tell them, who will?

Tell them what?

Your preferences!

This particular post tells them to be sure they understand your preferences such as what name you’d like to be called (Evelyn? or Mrs. Howard?), whether you like to be called “honey” Or “dear”? whether you prefer being labeled, or described by your medical challenge (are you a diabetes patient? or are you diabetic?) – those kinds of preferences.

Speak up, we say! Share your preferences with your advocates!

Aha… but truly…. it goes much further than that. In fact, you should speak up in all aspects of your life when you have a preference, and the current violation of your preference is grating (at least) or unacceptable (at worst.)

Why is speaking up so important? It’s about relieving your stress. And, especially during times of medical problems, the less stress the better.

In fact, making your personal preferences known can be a great way to solidify any relationship, whether its with your advocate, or your doctor, or your spouse, or anyone in your life with whom you want and need a good, solid, respectful relationship.

Further, you don’t have to come across as cranky or b*tchy when you raise the subject of preferences, either. You can be very serious about your preferences, but in a less-than-serious way.

“John, I know you like to call me by my first name, and while I appreciate that you feel close enough to do that, I would truly prefer you call me Mrs. Evans. Or you may call me Her Majesty the Queen!”


“Darlene, I realize you grew up in a household where your mom called everyone “Honey”. But it’s uncomfortable for me and I would prefer you try not to use it. Maybe just substitute my name instead… Honey”


“Doctor Jones, when you label me as disabled, it makes it sound as if there’s something wrong with me. Granted, I can’t get around like I used to, but I still have many great abilities. So would you refer to me instead as a patient with a disability? Or “differently abled? Or even just call me Murgatroyd.”

(Don’t worry. Dr. Jones will still provide the care you need. Your care will not be any less because you spoke up!)

In the past few years, it strikes me that respect among individuals who must work together has eroded. And there is something VERY wrong with that, no matter what the root of its erosion.

So it’s time for all of us to command the respect we deserve – including you! Speak up to your advocate and all the other people involved in helping you get the most out of your life. Because if you don’t tell them, who will?

Or, as my Gramma used to say, “You be Frank, and I’ll be Earnest.”

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