Our Perspective: Words matter. In our recent report, Vocabulary of Healthcare Reform, we raised the point that many medical professionals don’t even know what many of the buzz words mean:
“Many of these new terms – such as bundled payment, meaningful use, and accountable care organization – still cause confusion to those not directly involved with these changes. With this new lexicon comes a lack of clarity. Recent surveys show that many decision makers may not be familiar with the evolving language. For example, the 2011 HCPlexus/Thomson Reuters National Physician Survey found that 45 percent of the responding doctors did not fully understand the term “accountable care organization.”
There are countless examples of how simple changes to word choice can influence human behavior. In his New York Times Bestseller Words That Work, pollster Frank Luntz explains how politicians carefully replaced the term “global warming” with “climate change” and “estate tax” with “death tax” to galvanize support for their causes. And it worked.
With so much focus on creating healthcare reforms that will work in the real-world, we must also think about the human touch-points for those reforms and how they are being interpreted.