Health Care and Healthcare: One gets you well, the other gets paid

It’s good to know I’m not the only one confused over the use of “healthcare” and “health care” when referring to elements in this industry. Lots of articles out there, including these, that shed light on the controversy:

The general consensus seems to be that “healthcare” is suggestive of the entire system, or the industry, and not specific acts of medical service. When the space is added between the words, it’s more personal, more medical, more health-focused.

If we agree on that, then most of the time I’ll be using “healthcare” in my writing, since I’m usually thinking and working at a systemic level — I’m not a provider. So for me…

  • I’m a “health care” consumer when I see a doctor.
  • I’m at the mercy of “healthcare” when I deal with my insurance company.
  • I’m a “healthcare” practitioner by way of technology, and hopefully my colleagues can provide better “health care” when I’ve done my job well.

Or put simply: health care gets you well, but healthcare gets paid.

Bonus Points: HIPAA
Seeing HIPAA written incorrectly is a particular pet peeve of mine, so I loved this quote from Bob Coffield at the Health Care Law Blog:

As for HIPAA — I always use whether someone spells it correctly to judge how knowledgeable they are about the subject.