Five Healthcare Buzzwords and Their Meanings

Michele Warg
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When a doctor or other health worker uses unfamiliar buzzwords about conditions or healthcare policy without providing an explanation, patients can feel confused and powerless. For healthcare professionals, it is crucial to avoid using buzzwords without offering an explanation. By helping to educate your patients, you can avoid misconceptions and reduce the mystery around healthcare.


In an age where healthcare policy is in a state of flux, "patient-centered care" is an increasingly popular model. This phrase is often used to refer to healthcare practices and care models that place more of the education and decision-making into the patients' hands. In a patient-centered care model, people are more involved in the healthcare process; they learn about all the treatment options, so they can be their own health advocates.


As cloud computing becomes a viable option for businesses, "cloud vs. closet" has become a popular phrase among healthcare professionals. The cloud refers to an Internet-based storage system that allows workers to access health records from any location, like a tablet or mobile phone. There are numerous benefits to the cloud model in the healthcare industry, including faster access to files, mobility, and better collaboration among doctors. The major concern about cloud computing in healthcare is privacy, so until cloud security is more robust, it may not be a viable option. Because of that, many practitioners stick to the traditional closet model, where patient files are stored on servers that are located on-site at the healthcare facility. In healthcare facilities, the cloud vs. closet issue may change as healthcare policies shift.


Patients who are looking for alternative care options may run across the term "medical extensivist." Essentially, a medical extensivist is a doctor, a nurse, or another practitioner that extends their services outside of the traditional healthcare facility setting. A medical extensivist may make home visits or visits to an assisted care facility, usually with the goal of preventing readmission to the hospital.


As the healthcare system, the Affordable Care Act, and the healthcare policy experience a change, the phrase "Choluteca Bridge" has become a buzzword. The Choluteca Bridge is a structure in Honduras that is known as a feat of engineering. Shortly after it was constructed, however, a strong hurricane blew through and redirected the river so it no longer ran under the bridge. As a result, the Choluteca Bridge has come to symbolize a system that is no longer suited to the current situation, like the healthcare system in the United States.


Patients who are dealing with changing healthcare policy and the introduction of the Affordable Care Act may opt for an HSA, which is an acronym for "Health Savings Account". An HSA is a medical savings account that can be used in combination with high-deductible health insurance plans to cover costs. Deposits into an HSA are not taxable. According to National Public Radio, HSAs are becoming increasingly popular as deductibles get higher.


With the confusion surrounding the national changes to healthcare policy, buzzwords often serve to cause more consternation in patients. If you take the time to educate your clients about popular phrases, you can make them feel more secure and in control.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Such a great discussion!@Donna, you're probably right. Many patients don't think to ask questions about their information.@Eileen - It's good that people like you exist to help patients understand things. There are several pilot programs that involved sending nurses out to visit patients with chronic conditions once a month. The programs have found that just having someone come by and explain things, answer questions and listen reduced hospitalization rates, repeat visits and even other serious medical situations. Giving patients all of the information makes a huge difference.
  • Bonnie C
    Bonnie C
    Informative piece.  I find many health care professionals still using the term EMR for cloud.  Thank you for the current information.
  • Rita  D. F
    Rita  D. F
    Thank You!It nice to be informed.
  • Donna D
    Donna D
    Thank you for the update and as I can agree that a "closet" form of EHR is the best route today. The "cloud" is still too "iffy" on security. Also, getting into what the patient wants to understand about their own health information, I have found all they have to do is ask.  Most do not take the time to ask questions.  
  • Linda F
    Linda F
    Very informative and helpful .Thank you!
  • Carlos C
    Carlos C
    Thank you for this informative email. Great to know someone cares about keeping health care professionals up to date on the latest buzzwords.
  • June C
    June C
    I found this article very informative. It is true that patients are more involved in their decisions concerning treatments or surgeries.
  • Alayna L
    Alayna L
    I enjoyed and it was very enlightening, thanks
  • Frances N
    Frances N
    Good informative information and educational.  Thank you.
  • Kurt P H
    Kurt P H
    What healthcare professionals need to remember is what HIPPA defines as protected information to avoid any legal action.
  • James M
    James M
    Great blog. Concise and to the point. Like it!
  • nancy o
    nancy o
    Very informative article on buzz words. Thank you.
  • Eileen P
    Eileen P
    Thank you for a great article.  I am a medical sales representative but my position includes explaining equipment to patients.  I am constantly amazed at how little people understand about their diagnoses due to poor or NO explanation by healthcare providers.  I find when I explain things simply, people are very grateful.  Almost every day,after being with a patient, I hear.."Why didn't my doctor explain it to me like that?"  Thanks for the article!

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