Thursday, April 19, 2012

Expert Jargon Run Amok: Doesn't Work for United Airlines or Primary Care

During a recent plane trip, the Disease Management Care Blog was shown a pre-flight video that featured the airline's CEO extolling the coming improvements of the "on board product." Inspired by this precise terminology, DMCB announced when it got home that it would like to be called a "spousal support service provider" and that henceforth, household chores would be better referred to as "domiciliary task units." The spouse responded by observing her husband was being an "oxygen deprived moronic nitwit" thanks to the stress of too many hours at 35,000 feet. After a chilled beverage close to sea level, the DMCB returned to its senses.

Behold what happens when experts pickled by the jargon of their closed information loops are exposed to an unprepared lay public. And our health care industry leaders are no exception. Listen to them, and you'll no longer believe patients see their doctors to get better.  Instead, they're "health care consumers" who interact with their "patient centered medical homes" in "episodes of care."

While there isn't anything wrong with the phrases, the DMCB's point is that when it spills into the public space, the overinterpretation doesn't inspire much confidence. Better to leave that kind of terminology in the corporate planning suites, along with all those other unpleasant terms like "primary care loss leader," and "market competitive CEO compensation."

How about telling the DMCB that the airline is working to "upgrade" its "flying experience" with improvements in the "cabin design?" Or that "persons" can now "count on" their "health care team" to be there "from start to finish?"

Image from Wikipedia

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