What tools exist to help me become an effective consumer leader?
AF4Q has helpful guidance.
Aligning Forces offers many tools to help you in becoming a consumer leader. As a consumer leader, your active participation is critical to ensuring your Alliance’s efforts to improve health care are effective and relevant. Consumers add value to a multi-stakeholder group because they represent the ultimate stakeholder—those who use health care services.
One of the first steps a consumer leader might take to become more effective is to define his or her role. As a consumer leader, you, like leaders from other sectors, can assume many roles. Formal roles include serving on consumer advisory boards, steering committees, and work groups. Informal roles include acting as liaison to groups you influence, mentoring other consumer leaders, and sharing insights about the needs of consumers.
Using interest-based negotiation skills can help you create “win-win” solutions, manage differences, and strengthen relationships. By identifying each group’s interests, you can find solutions that provide mutual benefits to all parties.
You should also make sure you learn everything you can about topics important to the work your Alliance is doing. Aligning Forces has many materials that can help on its Consumer Engagement page, and your Alliance may have others—check with them to see what’s available.
Aligning Forces communities have created different paths for consumer involvement. For example, in 2010 Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation launched its Patients and Families as Leaders program. Patient advisers provide a “reality check” for proposed service changes, much as consumers in other industries help predict the response to a new product and hereby reduce risk of product failure. Practices in Aligning Forces Humboldt incorporated patient partners in revamping primary care practices. Practices reported they valued having an opportunity to convene and connect with consumer representatives.
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