Thursday, February 18, 2010

ERM-BC-COOP: Speak English !

 

I confess to being a bit "put out" by "de" words.

Words such as "de-identification" as in "Workshop on the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standard" and "de-duplication."

As a former journalist, flack. and technical writer I find words such as these counter-productive. They cause listeners to ask "Say WHAT?" and readers to reach for their glasses.

I understand what the coiners of these words are trying to convey, at least in broad terms, although to be truthful I had to confirm "de-duplication" (http://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid187_gci1378533,00.html).

There's nothing inherently wrong with coining (making up) words, but these two words in particular offend me eyes and ears.

"De-duplication" is, in English, deletion of duplicate files.

I assume that "de-identification" translates to "remove (patient) identifiers" given the related article. The reason for the "assume" weasel word is that the text at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/De-identification/deidentificationworkshop2010.html never clearly states that the workshop is about removal of information that could identify a patient .

Per the referenced Web page, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)1 requires HHS to issue guidance on methods for de-identification of protected health information (PHI) as designated in HIPAA's Privacy Rule.

"To facilitate timely collection of information, OCR is organizing an in-person workshop that will consist of multiple panel sessions. Each panel will address a specific topic related to the Privacy Rule’s de-identification methodologies and policies. The workshop will be open to the public and each panel will be followed by a question-answer period. The workshop will be held March 8-9, 2010 in Washington, DC and, at the present time, this is the only workshop planned."

To borrow a line from My Fair Lady , "Why can't the English learn to speak . . . the language."

I really would like to "de-dictionary" those two words.

By the way, "OCR" translates to "Office [for] Civil Rights" that, it would seem, is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

John Glenn, MBCI
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity practitioner
English language curmudgeon
Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Florida

Looking for work in, or from, southeast Florida

2 comments:

Rhonda said...

After this article and the day I've had, I think I need to de-stress!

Guy said...

Hilarious!

Specifically, since a lot of the IT Security, Governance, Regulation, and Compliance lexicons come from policy-maker’s attempting to “translate” ad-hoc conversations with technical subject matter experts…

Most of my contracts are just that... "Translating IT to address business need..."