Each industry has its own inside language, don’t you think?

It’s that jargon or corporate lingo that only employees seem to understand.

Using inside terminology isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often a good way to build camaraderie among employees. But when it’s used in the healthcare industry, especially, this kind of language can alienate your patients.

The phrase “jargon monoxide” has been used to describe what happens when too much of this corporate speak all but poisons the communication between patients and their care team. It happens whenever we use shorthand, abbreviations, acronyms, and slang to communicate procedures and medical terminology. The intention is to make our jobs easier, but think of what the patient (and the patient’s family) is hearing. Will they understand what you mean?

Consider the list below. How many of these terms do you or your staff use on a daily basis?

• E.R.

• Pathology

• Blood work

• Culture

• Mammo

• Scripts

• Hospice

• GP versus a specialist

• Diagnostic

• Chronic

• “Positive vs Negative” test results. (In the medical world, negative is a good thing. To the patient, the word “positive” is a good thing)

Imagine how frustrating this must be for patients! After all, communication is how we deliver diagnoses, offer healing remedies and treatments, or have difficult conversations about serious illnesses. The best way we can show respect to our patients is to eliminate the jargon and use language that is clear and understandable. The result is an enhanced patient experience based on open lines of communication.

Do you agree that we should work to eliminate jargon?

What are some other medical terms or phrases that might be considered medical jargon?