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13 Top Healthcare Buzzwords for 2013

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 28, 2012

11.  ALARA
An acronym for "as low as reasonably possible."  Apply to imaging radiation dosages, medication, frequency and cost, as appropriate.

12. Population Health
In healthcare, this phrase has different meanings to different types of providers. For large organizations and public health agencies, it means the populations of entire communities. 

For physicians in a practice, it might mean their regular patients with common diseases or conditions, such as diabetes.  For a hospital or healthcare system, it may mean anyone insured by a provider with a contract with a large insurer in the region.  For an accountable care organization, it may mean anyone who is in the ACO.

13.  Transforming or transformative.
It sounds like a mystical experience, with an implication that a provider or healthcare system is zapped into good behavior or culture with a key stroke or single action or decision, which happens very quickly.

But throughout the country, hundreds to thousands of healthcare providers and systems are undergoing transformation, apparently a cultural, psychological, and behavioral metamorphosis.

Actually, the Joint Commission in 2009 established its Center for Transforming Healthcare to tackle key projects that "use a systematic approach to analyze specific breakdowns in care and discover their underlying causes to develop targeted solutions. 

Recently, the Joint Commission's center has rolled out several illuminating projects, such Colorectal Surgical Site infections, handoffs and hand hygiene improvement projects, sepsis, fall, and wrong site surgery prevention projects.

See Also:

12 Buzzwords for 2012

13 Hot ACO Buzzwords All Providers Should Know

11 Buzzwords for 2011

Add 'Healthcare Innovation Center' to Buzzwords List


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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3 comments on "13 Top Healthcare Buzzwords for 2013"


EPLJ (1/3/2013 at 4:07 PM)
The acronym "ALARA" actually stands for "as low as reasonably achievable" rather than "...as possible" as indicated in the article.

Bob Lowry, PA-C (12/31/2012 at 2:18 PM)
2 comments: Extensivists can also be Physician Assistants. PAs work with physicians as part of the healthcare team. PAs are the classic Physician Extenders. Public Health also means healthcare on a macro level that is STEEEP - Safe, Timely, Efficient, Equitable, Efficient, and Patient Centered. It is important to apply these macro public health concepts and tweak them for individual patients.

Ronald Hirsch, MD (12/28/2012 at 2:42 PM)
The buzzword of the year for me is: retrospectoscope. That describes the review tool that the Medicare MAC and RAC and OIG auditors use to deny payment for an Inpatient stay. The retrospectoscope, when used after discharge, indicates that the patient did well therefore the Inpatient hospitalization was not necessary and the hospital must refund the payment.