Maybe it’s Time to Nix the Word ‘Patient’

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
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As healthcare changes ever increasingly, some believe that using the word patient to describe someone receiving medical care has become outdated. The staff at Hospitals & Health Networks delved into the topic by speaking about other’s opinions, reasons for the outdated nature of the word, and alternative words that truly fit the role. Reviewing a recent symposium at the Mayo clinic, the article talks of how the experts debated ways to make the patient feel more empowered and one of those ways was not calling them “patients” anymore. Some reasons they gave for the word showing lack of relevance were:

  • The word patient implied they were being acted upon and were not equal in decision making
  • The definition of patient itself means “bearing pains or trials calmly and without complaint,” which does not provide a sense of involvement
  • Makes people in this role sound complacent and passive

This passive patient role is changing; many medical experts are pushing for the patient role to move towards a more autonomous and educated one, encouraging people to take ownership of their medical care. A few words that are surfacing that will possibly replace the word “patient” listed in the article are:

  • Guest
  • Consume
  •  Partner
  • Client
  • Participant
  • Customer

Read more from the article at:


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