Let’s Disrupt

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to think of a word for what you do.

Then I attended a meeting on Tuesday on Transforming Healthcare Technology and heard the word.

You are a disruptor.

When you disrupt, sometimes you turn your world upside down. When you disrupt, sometimes you open up your caree’s world. And, all the time that you disrupt, you change our world.

Disruptors include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein. They looked at what existed, questioned the status quo and then created new solutions to fix old problems. Or, they introduced solutions to fix problems we didn’t realize we had. We’ve all been influenced by these disruptors: Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Consider this first paragraph of an article (“Start-Ups Use Technology in Patient-Doctor Relations”) from Wednesday’s New York Times:

“If ever an industry were ready for disruption, it is the American health care industry. Americans spend about $7,600 a year per person on health care, one in two adults lives with a chronic disease and the average wait time to see a doctor in a metropolitan area is 20 days. Entrepreneurs have responded by starting health care technology companies that are changing the way we interact with the entire system.”

Typically, disruption takes place from technology. I believe technology will impact our health care industry. It’s a group of individuals–like you–who will transform it.

Because of your role in your caree’s care, you disrupt the health care system because you become the provider. You are as valuable in the health care industry as the doctors and nurses, as the hospitals, home care agencies, long-term care facilities. You provide a great value to the industry; your economic value is, at last count, $450 billion. You are the provider, regardless of where your caree lives. You provide what’s needed, through the care you oversee and provide and because you hire the right team, find the right facility and demand the right care.

The delivery of health care starts with you, continues because of you, and ends with you. Without you, our health care system couldn’t afford to continue.

Here’s how you disrupt:

You can see how that your disruption costs very little and yet your impact is really great.

Let’s continue to disrupt. Let’s do it together.

Together, let’s reinvent health care by making sure the family caregiver always has what he or she needs in order to continue to be a provider in the health care system.

Here’s how you can disrupt; just choose any three actions below and complete them within the next 30 days:

1. Discuss your caregiving situation, especially what you need and what you can’t get, with your local representatives, media, bloggers;
2. Introduce caregiving in your community. Start a support group. Carry one of our reusable bags, wear an I CAN! wristband or our other products, all of which can be great conversation starters;
3. Speak up–tell others what you need and what’s not acceptable;
4. Review providers, organizations and agencies in your community in our National and State groups;
5. Upset the balance that keeps you un-empowered; ask providers, What will you do for me?. You are their equal in the heath-care equation;
6. Pass along what helps you, including a Caregiving.com flyer, which you ask to post in the doctor’s office, grocery store, anywhere you can;
7. Tell Bette about three contacts you have in your community; Bette will call them to make sure they know about Caregiving.com as a resource. (You can contact Bette by sending her a private message through her profile. Not a member yet; you can join here.)

When you complete something off this checklist, let us know by sharing in our comments section, below.

And, what the heck, let’s also add to our team of disruptors by adding 1,000 members to the site by May 13. Invite friends, co-workers, colleagues to join us. Share a link to Caregiving.com on Twitter and Facebook; be sure to include a reason why you like the site and what a family caregiver will gain from joining–a supportive group of family caregivers. Ask them to join an amazing team of disruptors who will transform health care. (Note to G-J and Jane, who comprise our wonderful welcome committee: We’ll figure out a way to welcome 1,000 new members without making you crazy, sleep-deprived and really mad at me.)

We’ve already changed a few lives. Let’s change even more.

P.S. We’re (well, okay, Bette is) working on a DISRUPT t-shirt. We’ll tell when they’re ready!

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Disrupt

  1. Profile photo of Roaring MouseRoaring Mouse

    Denise,

    I love the brainstorm. I’ll send out the flyer when I send out the 2nd phase -request for LTD info. But I’ll also use it to see if I can generate interest via my contacts to the site.

    Bette – if you can give me (just a few) items that you state when you call, I’ll use those when I run this by my contacts.

    Looking forward to the T-shirt! Now I get to dream of two that I can wear to my meetings.

    Oh!!! wait a minute…I just remembered I just spoke with a church the other day who is trying to do more for the community, EP and they want to do something for Caregivers. I’ll send a connect note out between you two. I told them if they started a support group (which would be close to where we live) it would be a bit easier for me to attend!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Bette

      Hi Roaringmouse,

      Thank you for asking about contacts.

      When I make a call to Home Health Agencies, Hospital Education Departments, Area Agencies on Aging, Support Groups, Nursing Facilities… I begin by introducing myself. I give my name and where I live and a little about my caregiving situation.

      Next: that I found a wonderful resource for Family Caregivers, that I would like to share with them – for the family caregivers that they come in contact with. I talk about the site and about Denise and then about the resources on Caregiving.com that have meant so much to me. I talk about sharing our stories and about the teleclasses that I am able to participate in with other family caregivers – through CarePASS.

      I love making these calls – often I look at their site to see if they have a listing of resources for Family Caregivers – if they do, this is a great lead in as well (with the idea of adding Caregiving.com to their list), if they don’t it’s helpful to ask if they would consider adding Caregiving.com to their site as a resource.

      I always ask if I can forward them additional information. You can send a note and flyer via e-mail and I always follow up in two weeks to see if they’ve had a chance to review and if they could help get the word out to family caregivers in their area.

      Hope this helps. Let us know about your contacts and I’m always more than happy to help.

      Reply
  2. Profile photo of JanJan

    Wonderful, thought-provoking and inspiring post, Denise. I also think one of the ways we “disrupt” is by advocating for our caree. Attending those doctor appointments and holding the doctor and his/her staff accountable for proper care. By not letting them write off our caree, just because they’re old, or senile, or even just tired and unmotivated. By not accepting substandard care. By catching mistakes (and that happens more often than we dare to think) with prescriptions and protocols. By asking hard questions and insisting on answers. By hounding healthcare providers for appointments and referrals to specialists; and doing our homework so that we can ask informed questions, by quizzing them on every possible avenue of care to ensure a satisfactory outcome for our caree. We advocate when we don’t take no for an answer. When we dare to question a diagnosis or course of treatment. When we advocate, we improve the quality of life for our caree. It make take a toll on us. It may cost us time, and money, and frustation and lost sleep. But if we don’t do it, who will? I’ve got to believe that it makes a difference.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of DeniseDenise Post author

      You got it! I originally wrote, “You provide what’s needed, through the care you oversee and provide and because you hire the right team, find the right facility and advocate for the right care. ” I changed “advocate for” to “demand” because of all the reasons you listed above.

      And, perhaps, the success of disrupt campaign will be when you do all that you wrote and it doesn’t take a toll on you.

      All you do makes a difference!

      Reply
  3. Profile photo of Old BillyOld Billy

    Something I do and I’m not sure if it counts…
    I take notes at every apointment my mother has. I transcribe the notes into an existing word document which is saved to a folder on my computer with her entire medical history and medication schedule. I also keep this folder updated and saved on my smart phone in a password protected file and on a thumb drive.

    I have acess to ma’s complete history anytime it’s needed. Should there be an emergency I can provide what information medical professionals ask for or hand over the thumb drive with the entie file.

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of Bette

    I had a conversation with our hospital’s education department and an organization in Ohio today. Both were aware of Health or Wellness Fairs coming up in our area. Just wanted to put out a plea here – if you are aware of any Fairs such as these in your area, please let me know. What a wonderful way to share about Caregiving.com and CarePASS – which I love as well!

    Also, if you are able – let me know of Home Health Agencies in your area or town. I’ve had some very nice “heart to hearts” with some of the local franchises here. Caregiving.com has been very eagerly received – they want to know more. I’ve had several, that when I talked about our group here, they talk about someone in particular who they know could benefit.

    You can send me either of these through my profile. Looking forward to hearing from you (: Thank you in advance – sooo much!

    Reply

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