Opinion: Don't call physicians 'providers'

As more non-physician clinicians join the frontlines, the term "provider" has become an all-encompassing term for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others.

However, this non-specific term lowers the power and clout of physicians, who have spent years studying and training to be top in their field, according to a blog by Suneel, Dhand, MD.

"In almost every country in the world, a medical doctor is considered to be among the most noble and prestigious professions, the title only conferred after one of the most rigorous university courses in existence. It is a privilege and honor to be one. You worked hard to become a fine doctor and clinician," Dr. Dhand wrote.

The titles nurse practitioner and physician assistant even sound more professional than provider, he wrote, though these clinicians are not the issue. Rather, the problem is no other professionals, such as attorneys, accountants or dentists, allow such non-specific nomenclature. This is reserved for cable TV providers and telephone providers, he wrote.

Dr. Dhand challenges physicians to avoid becoming providers by immediately correcting administration if they use the word, replacing it with the word "clinician," asking the IT department to change the language across the IT system and add the word physician in place of provider on paperwork.

"If you don't allow yourself to be called a provider, you won't be one. If however, you allow yourself to become a provider at every turn, then that is what you shall be," Dr. Dhand wrote.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

How to combat the most common excuse in healthcare
US spends most on healthcare but treats fewer patients, study finds
700-physician group to open 12 urgent care centers in Florida

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