Are You Speaking a Patient’s Language?

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Health journeys can be complex, sometimes more complex than a Rube Goldberg machine or spelling, say, embourgeoisement or consanguineous. And certain aspects of living with a chronic health condition – be that a symptom, side effect, emotional experience or other quality of life impact – can be hard to put into words.

Over time, especially in this digitally connected world, patient communities co-opt terms unique to certain aspects of the patient experience unique to their condition. These terms are meaningful and tend to take hold – and be put into a clear context – across Health Union’s growing portfolio of online health communities and among its patient leaders.

Findings from Health Union’s large-scale, condition-specific In America surveys – conducted regularly – as well as perspectives from people engaging with these communities, show just how pervasive these terms have become.

Leveraging these findings and perspectives from patient advocates, we are spotlighting five (of many) unique terms often used by people living with chronic conditions. A few of these terms are specific to one condition, while some have been co-opted by people across various conditions.

The real-world application of these terms offers significant insight into what people experience at different points in their journey. As a result, it is important for healthcare companies and healthcare professionals to be aware of these terms and be able to “speak the language” as they communicate with patients and develop solutions to address unmet needs.

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