Australian Health Ombudsman says health care providers should not be held responsible for the use of medical terminology
The Australian Health ombudsman has slammed health professionals for using medical terms like “medication” or “medicine” to describe the effects of drugs.
Key points:The ombudsman says “medicated” is “used to describe things that can be treated and that people need” and that the use is not supported by evidenceIt is a serious offence under the Australian Health Act to “misrepresent or misappropriate” medical termsThe ombudsperson says health professionals “should not be penalised for their own use”The olympic gold medallist, former rugby league star Chris Cairns, is a key figure in the legal battle over whether Australia’s drug policies should be changed.
Mr Cairn says he and other athletes use “medically appropriate” terms like aspirin to describe how to use drugs, but he says he has never heard any doctors or pharmacists using them to describe drugs.
“I know that it is not a crime to misuse medical terms, but it is a very serious offence for people to misuse such terms and I am not going to tolerate it,” Mr Cairnes said.
He says the use by sports professionals of medical terms is “unfair”.””
I do know that in my mind, when I hear ‘medicinal’, I think ‘I can take that’.”
He says the use by sports professionals of medical terms is “unfair”.
“The whole medical profession is not going into this with a straight face,” he said.
But the ombudsman says doctors, pharmacists and others should not get penalised because they are using medical terminology.
“It is not something I would have a problem with, because it is clearly a very important issue to me,” he told ABC Radio’s AM program.
“There are some professions that I would never have a conversation about with my colleagues, but there are other professions that are very sensitive to issues like this.”
That is the way that we operate in Australia.
“The ompathys office is reviewing the use and misuse of medical jargon.
Health experts have welcomed the ombudsman’s review.”
The Australian Health and Medical Research Council is a world leader in the study of the medical use of words and their implications for health and medicine,” said Dr Peter Garlick, who is chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Language, Language and the Human Environment.”
For years, the American Medical Association has spoken out against the use in health care of medical and scientific terms like ‘medication’ and ‘medics’, and has been a strong advocate for limiting the misuse of these terms.
“The association said the olympics gold medallion winner was “not alone” in using medical jargon, but added the use was not supported and would “lead to confusion”.”
Physicians are encouraged to use the best available evidence-based advice to make decisions about health care,” it said in a statement.”
However, when medical terms are used inappropriately, their use will not only be confusing to patients, but may even cause harm.