Do You Make These Simple, Very Unprofessional, Errors?

There are simple spelling or usage errors that advocates make – frequently! – that scream “UNPROFESSIONAL!”

Do you make them?

I have seen them in emails, on discussion boards, even on brochures and websites!

Granted – they are common errors, and it’s entirely possible that potential clients or their loved ones would not realize they are errors.

But if this sort of “small” detail escapes you, and someone knows it, what does it say about your attention to detail? What does it say about your level of professionalism when you get obvious care management or advocacy-related terms, spellings, or usage wrong? Nothing good, I assure you.

These are the errors I’ll call out today…  (and I invite you to add your own in the comments below):

  •  HIPAA
    Please note:  one P and two As.  It is NOT HIPPA, nor is it HIPPAA.  One P and two As are correct, because it is the acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. (OK – maybe it should have THREE As on the end? But still ONLY ONE P belongs in the middle.)  When a professional advocate or care manager misspells HIPPA, it goes right up my backbone.

    Please – do your practice and our profession a favor. Go check anywhere you might have written HIPAA incorrectly – and fix it. Your website, directory listings, brochure, blog – anywhere. Please fix it.

    spell HIPAA

  • Here’s the next one:  Advance Directives 
    Please note:  there is no D on the end of Advance. Only Advance, not Advanced.  Now – I’ll give you that it SEEMS like there should be a D. It SEEMS like since the word is being used as an adjective, then the D should be there.  Further, the word “advance” SEEMS like it should be a verb – not an adjective. So – there are all kinds of understandable reasons why using “advance” seems wrong.

    But – that doesn’t make it any less wrong.  And you don’t have to take my word for it. You can see it written by the big kahuna health and medical organizations.  Check Medicare, or the Mayo Clinic, or AARP

    So – just like you looked for misspelled HIPAA, please check all those places you might have mentioned advance(d) directives, too.

  • OK – I actually have a bonus word that is frequently misspelled. I’m sharing this one with you because this one I learned the hard way! I actually published it – misspelled – decades ago – in a journal article I was involved in helping to write. OMG. How embarrassing!  So – hopefully, if you ever need to know this one – I am saving YOU from being embarrassed.

    This one is ophthalmology or ophthalmologist. Please note:  OPH – not OP.  and THAL not THOL…  ophthalmology. Especially that “phth” thing is easy to miss.

    Again – you don’t have to take my word for it.  Try this:  The American Academy of Ophthalmology.

spell ophthalmology

One of the important aspects of an advocate’s work is attention to detail. After all, we are involved in people’s healthcare AND financial security. Details are so important.

So — please — dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s – and spell and use terms correctly!


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3 thoughts on “Do You Make These Simple, Very Unprofessional, Errors?”

  1. Being detail oriented, and having graduated with a degree in health information administration the year HIPAA was first enacted (thus having it and everything it entails pounded into my brain), the “HIPPA” mistake is a HUGE pet peeve of mine–and it immediately makes me think the writer has no idea what they’re talking about. Thanks, Trisha!

  2. The P in HIPAA stands for portability of health information. Health and Human Services (HHS) have recently published guidance on patient access to personal health data. The P in HIPAA does NOT stand for Privacy, a common misconception.

  3. Happy Holidays! Spell Check. The tool should be set to automatically highlight misspelled words. It is easy, takes no time, does not interfere with the ability to put one’s thoughts down on paper, then go back to correct. Even email programs – Outlook, Gmail, etc., all have spell check. There is no reason for sending a document out with typo’s or misspelled words. Grammar is another subject.

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