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September 14th, 2007

by Nick Jacobs

In the middle of a board committee meeting, my vice chairman turned to me and said, "Hospitalk." "Listen to all the hospi-talk." I hesitated for a second while I focused on the word he was using . . . Hospi-talk, the talk that is specific to our profession, our business, our environment. As a judge I'm sure he deals in courti-talk, but this meeting wasn't about attorneys. He was listening to abbreviations: QD, PRN, C.C., increased CPK? How about an elevated BUN? In the kitchen that is probably a good thing.

Now, it's not unusual to read or hear medical terms during these meetings, but this meeting was loaded with medical banter, you know, separating the we know people from the we sure don't know people. It's funny how the use of these terms increase proportionately when the pressure increases. This particular meeting was about the "New Joint Commission." Clearly, the Joint has evolved into a tough, yet somewhat absurd version of its old self. The pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme, from everybody is perfect to every hospital is inferior, and hospital Boards have taken notice. Read the Boston Globe; April 21, 2007, by Liz Kowalczyk: Five hospitals release data on inspections . . . Surprise visits revealed some flaws in patient care.

Anyway, I digress, back to hospi-talk.

After the Judge pointed out how abstract the meeting had become to the lay people present, I literally had to stop five different speakers to translate their jargon into something a little more meaningful to the masses, and, as the shields were lowered, we could all settle into the knowledge that this meeting was about people, how to cure them, how to protect them, and how to ensure that every detail is being addressed . . . it just took a wrong turn down semantics alley started by a specialist's specialist who probably doesn't even know what a Game Boy is.


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