Using Patient Advocacy Ties to Bolster Funding Efforts, Community Initiatives

Bridging the gap with the right patient advocacy organizations is key to gaining support from influential patient groups, legislators and medical funding sources. Extending this olive branch is best done in the early stages of a campaign when patient advocacy ideas can be seriously considered and folded into a plan's strategy. "You can't look for a rubber stamp [from patient advocacy groups] late in the campaign process; these groups want to work from a common ground," says Kym White, managing director of Ogilvy & Mather's healthcare practice in New York. For hospitals, that common ground is easier to establish than for any other players in the industry - such as pharmaceuticals, biotech companies and managed care plans -because they have a more personal relationship with the community. With an eye toward a long-term relationship, successful patient group affiliations can result in better access to: disease and treatment education;therapy information;reimbursement;state-of-the-art care; andclinical trials.

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