What a difference a name makes

Why does consumer language matter to health information retrieval and, more broadly, to health *care*? Zach Ryan, quoted in today’s USA Today, illustrates why. “”I can find the most obscure stuff on Google,” Ryan said. “I mean stupid, obscure stuff. But I couldn’t find how to get health care through the government. When you type in Obamacare, you would think it would come right up and have some clear instructions.” [USA Today]

The term “Obamacare” originated as a slur. It is certainly still used as a slur by opponents of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA). However, it has also been embraced by PPACA proponents. But sentiment analysis aside — Obamacare is not actually what the legislation is CALLED. The smartest search engine in the world can do nothing for searchers who can’t do the mental mapping for themselves.

P.S. For Edward Schumacher-Matos’ take on Obamacare — the name– — see “What We Hear When NPR Refers to ‘Obamacare‘.

Author: cat

Associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *