Oregonian re-injects meaning into reform clichés

The Oregonian‘s Joe Rojas-Burke clearly has a keen eye for that special place at which jargon and cliché intersect, and his nifty health care glossary cuts right through it all to explain those terms like “bending the curve” and “diagnostic yield” that we’ve all heard so many times that they’ve lost whatever meaning, if any, that they originally had. Each definition reads like a mini-column, complete with links and context, that explains why these words and phrases are actually important.

bookPhoto by Beverly & Pack via Flickr.

Rojas-Burke tackles plenty of sophisticated concepts (scroll down to surrogate endpoint), but my favorite entry is one that goes back to basics and elegantly explains a fundamental dilemma behind rising health care costs.

Healthy — Medical technology is blurring the distinction between healthy and sick, as illustrated by a study in which 1,192 healthy women and men had their entire body scanned by X-ray computed tomography, or CT. Abnormalities showed up in 1,030 of them, nearly 90 percent, and doctors advised 37 percent of the patients to get further tests. An essayist writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association hit the nail on the head: “A colleague of mine recently asked a resident how he would define a well person. With no hesitation, the resident replied that a well person was merely someone who had not been thoroughly worked up.”

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