HIT Acronyms Leave Me Needing a Nice Glass of Wine

Posted on November 27, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I had quite a learning curve to overcome when I first started working in and writing about healthcare nearly four years ago. I quickly realized that industry insiders peppered their conversations, blogs, tweets and presentations with acronyms that no mere mortal (or patient) could be expected to easily derive definition from. Only after months of immersion was I able to grasp the meaning of acronyms I heard on an everyday basis.

I was reminded of this when several popped up during a recent #HITsm tweetchat.

Gregg Masters, i.e. @2healthguru, made a good point in response:

Is healthcare as an industry alienating patients with this type of healthcare-ese? Do healthcare acronyms make patients feel less confident when speaking with care givers – perhaps more willing to gloss over certain issues because they are not confident in their understanding of certain terms and conditions? I can only imaging how amplified this problem is with the non-English speaking.

As we spend time talking about patient engagement and education, let’s not forget that concepts and terms that we take for granted may not be fully understood by the majority of healthcare consumers. Care givers should set aside time with patients to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to understanding healthcare terms.

That being said, the next time new healthcare acronyms crop up, I’ll kick back and have a glass of wine before diving into definitions.