Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What's in a name?

I’ve thought to myself… is it smart to use the term “disease management” for this new blog? Is it too confining? Is it too Ver. 1.0? Am I being left on the sidelines with an outdated moniker while the industry re-brands itself?

The term “disease management” may be falling out of favor. Apparently no longer de rigueur, it seems the term insufficiently captures the expanding and sophisticated suite of services being offered by the industry. Many feel the term “disease” is too narrow and morose, while the word “management” is too coercive and consumer-unfriendly. It also has some bad karma, thanks to CBO doubts, preliminary disappointing Medicare Health Support findings and physician disdain.

Since I don’t want to be left behind by the panache of a new nomenclature, I unscientifically sampled the jargon in many of the vendors’ web sites. After only three Google pages, I confirmed that the traditional labeling is being eclipsed by a whole new generation of Ver. X modifiers, adjectives and nouns.

As yet another service for the readers of this blog who may be grappling with how to "position" their reinvigorated programs, feel free to draw on the list of terms I collected from my Googling. They are below. Any combination can be used and category switching is acceptable. To add luster, I recommend picking one or two of each. For example, “multidisciplinary” (modifier) “population” and “productivity” (adjectives) “support” and “enhancement” (nouns). Voila!

For those on the buyer-side, I also offer up a “disease management” jargon bingo card, for use at the next trade show, web-broadcast, on-site pitch or conference. Note there is no credit for the term “disease management.” The humor may be worn but I couldn’t help myself.

As for me, I think for now I’ll stick with the term. Call me old fashioned, but it still has some lingering cachet and unlike much of the imprecise terminology currently in vogue, “disease management” has some specificity, it’s still being used in the peer-review literature and the NCQA, URAC and JCAHO accreditation programs haven’t changed their terminology - yet.

What’s in a name? Despite what many of my colleagues in the "health continuum alliance” may think, if it improves outcomes for populations for chronic conditions and reduces projected health care costs, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And if it has doubtful claims about enhanced quality and has no impact on costs, no amount of lipstick will help.

Chronic Consumer Continuum Clinical Financial Claims-based Multidisciplinary Motivational Healthy

care habit health population productivity condition outcome variation health resource value collaborative

improvement support wellness enhancement care engagement empowerment self care self-efficacy management optimization advocacy teaming disease control healthy habit

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