Want better care? Show up like a boss.

Want better care? Show up like a boss.

Want better care? Show up like a boss.

Liz Kalina, Vice President of North America Corporate Affairs and Patient Services at Ipsen reflects on an Ipsen-sponsored panel at SXSW® focused on the power in speaking up for yourself and Becoming the CEO of Your Health.

I’ve long known that people facing serious health challenges and their families have a lot to teach the rest of us about what good healthcare looks like and how to advocate for yourself to get it. In March, Ipsen sponsored a panel at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) focused on Becoming the CEO of Your Health. At the panel, we heard L. Marie speak about the strength she found in her own advocacy. L. Marie said it well—we need to normalize real talk and understand that how we show up to the conversation matters.

For years if a healthcare expert asked me how I was doing, my response was, “I’m fine.” In general, that was true, but it certainly didn’t get me closer to the goals I had for my own health and wellness. Several years ago, my family moved, and I went to a new doctor. This doctor didn’t ask me general questions. She was specific, and over time, I became more in-tune with how I felt in a way that produced better answers.

When we need to talk about hard questions, she helps me shape a full understanding of the issue, goes over the treatment options and then together we discuss potential outcomes. Those discussions are always informed by my viewpoint—what I am comfortable with, the realities of my day-to-day life and what I value most.

I like to think that is being like L. Marie.

Here are some other tips I’ve gleaned: 

  • Prepare for your appointment in advance, not on the way to the office. Consider making a written list of what you’d like to discuss, and take notes during your appointment;
  • Have a clear goal for your appointment and share this critical information with your care provider;
  • If you don’t understand, don’t agree or need a moment to think, say something. If you’re still not getting what you need, don’t be afraid to seek out another care provider;
  • Importantly don’t dismiss your feelings or let others dismiss what you’re describing, seek support when you need it because you know your body best and
  • Just like a CEO, follow-up on your next steps like a boss (don’t wait, take action)!

I’m now a better patient and advocate for my family too. I know the difference between being polite and being direct on what I need and expect from an appointment. And, come to find out, this is the ticket to getting better care. Doctors—even the very best—need us to show up ready to lead in our own health and wellness discussions.

When you’re making decisions about your health—from scheduling a straightforward preventive screening to managing a complex chronic condition—context matters. Just like a CEO trusts their teams to provide information to make informed decisions—stepping into the doctor’s office is no different. Research shows that the best outcomes originate in decisions that include both your doctor’s expertise about medicine and your expertise about your body and your life. The more serious the issue, the more important it becomes that both sides are in leadership positions.

And, finally, let’s be so effective at showing up for ourselves that others may benefit. I get a mammogram every year in December. And, every year, I feel a little nervous about it. I look around the waiting room and recognize that the people—not patients—are just like me. Some of us will get the “all clear” results letter and others won’t. I never check the clock or think about my wait time on that day. A physician may be helping someone else process critical information and navigate uncertainty that day; I am happy to share my time.

This awareness also changes how I approach my doctors. They may have just walked out of one of those critical conversations. I have some patience and try to remember to help my doctor re-orient to my needs and my case. We are all human. Let’s help each other show up at our very best—just like L. Marie.

In addition to L. Marie (CEO of her own health), thank you all of the panelists—Dr. Danielle Dray (Board Certified OB/GYN and a colleague at Ipsen), Tamsen Fadal (award-winning journalist and menopause advocate) and the moderator, Dr. Jessica Shepherd.


Liz Kalina

Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Patient Services

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ALLSC-US-001215. March 2024

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