Driving patient advocacy
Patient advocacy with apps: Firstly, through their use of the internet, social media and apps, there is more of a level playing field between small and larger patient groups. Secondly, for years patient organisations of all sizes have created advocacy toolkits to drive at global, national, regional and local levels for healthcare improvements. Following this some are now turning these into practical apps for individual patients.
Lastly, for example:
- the American Diabetes Association Advocacy app
- the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network app
- Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) who include `Advocacy Alerts’ in their app for urgent calls to action.
American Diabetes Association Advocacy app
The American Diabetes Association’s advocacy goals include increasing federal and state funding for diabetes, as well as addressing health disparities in diabetes care. With this in mind, it needs to recruit and train large numbers of advocates across the USA. This is so their app has a large focus on recruiting advocates.
Last year the app helped them to:
- grow their advocate numbers by 65%, more than 3 times their recruitment goal
- achieve more than 110 local meetings with members of Congress during the summer and fall congressional recess periods
- organise petitions signed by over 200,000 Diabetes Advocates
- get their messages across effectively on critical legislative issues affecting diabetes by giving advocates `talking points’.
Putting key issues centre-stage
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is, the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.
Its advocacy app is designed to make it easy to:
- identify the key advocacy issues
- contact decision makers
- sign petitions
- take part in events
- view the organisation’s support materials, including its videos
- access the society’s social media
- ask for help with specific questions and problems.
Combining care with advocacy
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy advocacy has many aims, including to advance research that will lead to treatments, and ultimately a cure, for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Its app acts as a central hub.
Available in more than 20 languages, it gives parents advice and support, as well as linking them to support from other parents. Additionally it also helps them keep up with the latest research news.
In short, it also brings together a suite of advocacy support, including:
- `Advocacy alerts’ – calls to action for tactical and newsworthy interventions for lobbying on specific campaign issues
- Advocacy events, including the organisation’s Advocacy conference
- Fundraising and awareness-raising events.