Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Ordinary health, remember , is highly gambit-prone.

Stephen Potter, One-Upsmanship

When I was editor-in-chief of Minnesota Medicine, I wrote a playful editorial “healthcaremanship.” In that editorial, I had a section called “Buzz Bomb.”

It read:

"This last gambit I shall describe should only be used in desperation, never indiscriminately.

"A few years ago, a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture , now forgotten but not gone, first described “buzz words.”

"These words serve as bureaucratic bombs. If you are cornered, you drop three of them in quick succession. You simply arrange your favorite words in three columns – two qualifying adjectives and and an abstract noun. Then, if anyone asks you an embarrassing question, you trigger your buzz words in 1-2-3 order. “

I gave this example

1, 2, 3

total, management, care

regional, supportive, coordinator

universal, health, analyses

primary, integrated, centers

comprehensive, ambulatory, services

national, resource, priorities

quality, pilot, planning

interdependent, involvement, costs

preventive, paramedical, studies

systematic, effectiveness, utilization

feasible, digital, implementation

delivery, scientific, objectives

unmet, outreach, systems

community, allied, maintenance

centralized, medical, parameters

longterm, multiphasic, feedback

If your questioner asks, “Do you regard accountable care organizations as necessary to bring down costs? Counter with “Centralized integrated systems are essential to bring down community allied costs.”

But, alas, this list is not sufficient in these health reform days of accountable care organizations (ACOs). You need new buzz words. Here, courtesy of Cheryl Clark, a senior editor for, are 13 buzzwords to use should you be engaged in conservation about ACOs.

1, 2, 3

paperwork, reduction, act

safety, zone, harbors

primary, service, areas

retrospective, assignment, beneficiaries

procompetitive, service, organizations

rule of reason, feasible, guidelines

tax, identification, numbers

dominant, provider, limitations

mandatory, antitrust, review

group, practice, options

domain, quality, metrics

ACO, professional, candidates

eligibility, joint-venture, arrangements

There, that’s all you need to know when intelligently discussing accountable care organizations. These buzzwords are what Accountablecareorganizationmanship are all about.