Healthcare Acronyms

I just completed my first full day of fellowship orientation.

I sat in a room with newly-minted MHAs and listened to presentations made by SVPs. It became clear that, as a FTE, with a background in theology, I needed to learn a new language - Healthcare Acronyms.

A quick Google search revealed a few helpful sites:

The Wikipedia list is a good resource for classics like: LOS, CPOE and JCAHO. But for acronyms not listed, like ACHE, the Acronym Finder is a great tool.

(FYI - plugging ACHE into the Acronym Finder will lead you to the American College of Healthcare Executives. But it also suggests the American Headache Society’s Committee on Headache Education. LOL?)

The most interesting resource I found was an abstract of an article published in Pediatric Nursing - Abbreviations and Acronyms in Healthcare: When Shorter Isn’t Sweeter (registration required).

The author of the article, Ivy Fenton Kuhn, MSN, CRNP, CNOR, notes that medical abbreviations have been the cause of many clinical mistakes, including deaths. To prevent these errors and/or misunderstandings, Kuhn directs the reader to the ISMP for suggested alternatives to easily mistaken abbreviations and acronyms.

Maybe a study of healthcare acronyms will earn me some CE credits. Either way, my learning curve is pretty steep.

Michael Miller, Jr.