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Acronym Busting (AB)

While acronyms are useful to short hand some of the long medical terms that we have to use regularly, it’s important to make sure they don’t get in the way of producing meaningful informaiton. Phoebe Munson shares one of the tools that she uses to decode some of communications that she has come accross while working in the service.

An important part of putting patients at the centre of their care is making sure we produce information that is clear and easy to understand. In our service our clinical support teams will check outcome letters before they are sent to patients to make sure letters are written in plain English and wherever possible that they are acronym free. However we are not lucky enough to have these skilled translators of medical terms working away at all of the information that crosses our desks everyday.

It can be intimidating sitting in a meeting and suddenly realising that you have lost the thread of conversation because you are trying to puzzle out what it is every one is talking about. When I started working with the Partnership again, I would keep a list in the back of my notebook during meetings of acronyms that I hadn’t understood. After meetings I would frantically track down a colleague much smarter than I and ask them to explain what we had been talking about.

One day I had come out of a service meeting and I was talking to my colleague Andy Foreman (one of my much cleverer colleagues), and he shared with me the most useful spreadhseet I have ever used. Like me he found the acronyms that we use on a daily basis bewildering, unlike me he had taken a far more systematic approach to solving his problem. He shared his list of acronyms with me, and since then I have shared it with new starters and old colleagues alike. It’s just a list of acronyms and what they mean, but it has been invaluable in helping me navigate the sometimes bewildering jargon we come up against when navigating the world of healthcare. I hope that by sharing it here, it might help others.

To download the Useful Acronyms Spreadsheet click here

If you want to search for a term, simply open the spread sheet and enter ‘CTRL+F’.

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