What’s a Co-op?

I love watching people’s eyes light up when they learn about Patient Critical Co-op and our mission to create community, spread awareness and education, and speak on behalf of our members to give patients a voice in their healthcare.

People get it. They understand the need for a unified patient voice that can work with healthcare provider associations, civil service and elected MP’s in government, and business interests and lobby groups.

Sometimes, before that moment when everybody gets excited, people ask what a co-op is, or narrow their eyes in suspicion that we’re just another business trying to make a buck.

When they find out our members own the business, and vote on everything we do, almost everybody I’ve spoken to agrees that co-ops are a great way to represent the patient perspective in Canadian Healthcare. We’re not a business, we’re a social enterprise, and a community designed to help patients do more together than they can on their own.

Co-ops -AKA ‘cooperative businesses’- are owned by their members. Everything a co-op does is for the benefit of its members. Like all co-ops, Patient Critical is run by officers and staff who are picked by a board of directors that are elected by those members.

We’re also a Platform Co-op. That’s a fancy way of saying we make it easy for our members to declare their preferences with a minimum of time and effort by voting to establish priorities the co-op pursues using online polling.

We know some members have more time than others and want to make different contributions, and we welcome those minds and hands. Other times, patients are too busy living their lives to take much on. That’s when the simplicity of an online poll allows our members to easily and quickly steer the co-op’s course.

As our membership grows we will be able to fine-tune which projects we choose, what kind of education and resources we offer, and what issues and parties to direct our advocacy towards, all based on our members’ preferences.

What’s all that mean?

With every little ‘like’ on a poll, resource or forum topic, the will of our members defines itself to our partners in healthcare.

We all have different skills to offer. For some, becoming a member and voting their preferences is what they’re comfortable with, or have time for right now. Others have the time and energy to shape discussions in our forums, search out new resources to share, or even make calls to MP’s and other healthcare groups.

We can create a stronger voice together because of our differences.

The best communities are places that support you when you’re tired, hurting or overwhelmed…and that’s exactly what Patient Critical Co-op was created to do.

I invite you all to join now. Add your voice, share and benefit together with your fellow members. Join our community now, and show our partners in healthcare that Patients are Critical to keeping Healthcare healthy!