The Word Police Come to Sick Care

The Academie Francaise is about to simplify the French language. Not everyone is happy. Those of us in the US who have been witnessing the verbal cleansing of sick care terms know the feeling.  

1. Patient: They are now consumers, customers, prosumers, but certainly no longer “patients.”

2. Physician: Sorry. No more. You are a provider or the product. You are certainly not THE doctor, but one of many.

3. Healthcare: Actually, 88% of the money is spent on sick care. Moving the needle on disease prevention and wellness will take much longer until we can justifiably call it healthcare.

4. Digital health: The lumpers will be shedding a lot of tears as "digital health" is discarded for what it is—a confluence of technologies with varied intended uses.

5. Bedside manner: There are fewer and fewer bedsides and there will be even fewer still as we come to recognize that hospital admissions will be shrinking.

6. Waiting room: With online appointments and your ability to make APPointments, who waits anymore? That place with the dead plants and expired magazines is now an education and patient resource room. Translation: You can give us your insurance information sooner before the visit so we can verify your identity, coverage, and deductible.

7. Chart: The only charts in the official will be those mandatory OSHA posters telling employers what they need to do to avoid fines for failing to comply with the latest rules.

8. Academic medicine: There is nothing academic about it anymore. If you are a clinician, you make the numbers or else. Teaching is an unfunded mandate. Research for most clinicians is unfundable over the long run. Who can pay medical student debts on a researcher's salary?

9. Technology transfer: Now they are Innovation Centers

10. Fundraisers: Nobody just donates money anymore. Everyone is an investor or philanthropreneur.

Personally, je prefere oignon, but how to spell it is, like most of sick care these days, way above my pay grade. I'm just the sick care provider taking care of customers.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at