The healthcare industry publishes an incredible amount of new information in any given year. New surgical procedures, medications, physical therapy methodologies, organizations, and more--when new information begins to pile on top of the already enormous existing database, it becomes easy to see why even healthcare professionals need a system to navigate the industry.
The acronym system in the healthcare industry, as it is in a number of other professions, is a way of condensing necessary information into a smaller package. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is usually abbreviated as HIPAA. Some of us may be familiar with HIPAA-related regulation testing in our present workplace. The acronym HIPAA allows for faster communication both orally and in writing. For healthcare industry professionals, this boost in communication speed can mean the difference between life and death in critical situations. Acronyms also relieve the mental pressure of remembering long titles in sequence. Those in acronym-heavy positions should still be careful to retain their source information for the acronyms, as forgetting certain parts of an acronym can have serious consequences.
Due to the rapid expansion in availability of healthcare information, numerous organizations have published guides that cover the major acronyms of their niche in the industry. The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) is one such organization, publishing state-specific acronyms on an annual basis. Individual states, local municipalities, and even individual hospitals may publish site-specific acronym guides depending on their areas of expertise.
Consumers should familiarize themselves with the acronyms associated with their present medical conditions. This can expedite dealings with hospital treatment facilities, healthcare professionals, and insurance agencies. Healthcare providers may also expect consumers to have some familiarity with healthcare acronyms when filling out their medical histories during primary patient registration. Having a working knowledge of the necessary acronyms will also allow consumers to make sounder judgments regarding their payment options for treatment. Insurance companies typically employ acronyms to streamline their own processes, so consumers unfamiliar with healthcare acronyms may find themselves at a disadvantage when attempting to determine what portions of a particular treatment are covered.
Any unknown acronyms should prompt immediate clarification to accelerate the treatment and payment processes.