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13 Top Healthcare Buzzwords for 2013

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 28, 2012

It's that time of year, again, when any self-respecting healthcare provider looks to bone up on the latest terms in the lexicon.  As in previous years, we welcome your suggestions for the next installment of this annual list.

1. Oculostenotic Reflex
Writing in the journal Circulation in 1995, Eric Topol, MD, and Steven Nissen, MD, described the term oculostenotic reflex as the "irresistible temptation among some invasive cardiologists to perform angioplasty on any significant residual stenosis after thrombolysis." 

The phrase has resurfaced in light of current estimates that at least 11%, or as many as one-third or even one-half of interventional cardiology procedures and certain other invasive cardiac operations may unnecessary or even harmful because the conditions are better treated with medications. 

As hospitals look to reduce costs and improve outcomes, and as organizations step away from fee-for-service payment systems, look for this phrase to be increasingly used as a metaphor for unnecessary, expensive and potentially harmful care.

2. The Three Biases

  1. Confirmation
  2. Pro intervention
  3. Pro technology

These terms have long been understood to impede objective research. They're the reason why clinical trials are best conducted when investigators are blinded to who gets what treatment regimen. But now they're increasingly appreciated as what happens in normal human brains to direct behavior that results in errors.

1.Confirmation Bias: A caregiver wants to think that a patient received the correct medication, selects a drug because it's in the place where the right one was before and where it ought to still be, even if it isn't.

2.Pro-Intervention Bias: The belief that no matter what, it is better for a caregiver to perform a procedure or prescribe a medication than to do nothing, because otherwise, what use would the caregiver have?

3.Pro-Technology Bias: The belief that a new device, drug, procedure, or approach is better for no other reason than that it is complicated, or expensive, or new.

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Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

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.