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:
- Roaringmouse meets with her Congressman to ask for changes with long-term disability policies;
- Bette can’t find a support group in her community (her local Area Agency on Aging doesn’t offer one) so she starts one in August 2011; her group now totals 15;
- G-J writes a Dear Nonprofit letter, which explains what she needs from organizations that work with family caregivers;
- Trish educates through delicious cupcakes;
- Jo reminds the staff of his parents’ assisted living facility how important they are to him and his parents through chocolate-covered strawberries;
- Tom remembers he’s the dragon.
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!
- And, What will You do For Me? (caregiving.com)
- Open (caregiving.com)
- $153,000,000 for 600,000? (caregiving.com)
- Ask Denise: How Can Things Feel Better? (caregiving.com)
- Vote to Bring Solutions to Family Caregivers (caregiving.com)
- Buy Caregiving.com Reusable Shopping Bags (caregiving.com)
- On the Road: Connecting with Jan (caregiving.com)
- Answering Dementia (caregiving.com)
- We’re Looking for Volunteers to be Community Managers (caregiving.com)
- Table Talk Live with Jane (caregiving.com)