I was watching the latest episode of Blackish and there was this wonderful scene between Dre and Bow.
They are sitting in a spa getting a pedicure when Dre begins to speak Vietnamese to the technicians. His wife, Bow, looks at him and asks when he learned a new language. She then asks him if he is talking about her to the technicians. He obviously is making fun of her.
It made me stop to think of when patients need to access healthcare. We use acronyms like ED, OP, IP, EMR, ICD-10, CBC, and RBM. We use language like incidental findings, suspicious for, calcification, CAT Scan, external beam radiation therapy, and congestive heart failure.
We need to realize that the language we use may not always have the same meaning or provide the same context to people that do not work in healthcare on a daily basis. We need to realize that in order to provide patients with the right information, we need to choose the right words. Words that provide the context, demonstrate meaning, and allow for a dialogue and not a monologue.
Healthcare is a lot like a pedicure….patients often wonder what we are saying, kind of like the people scrubbing your feet.
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