A New Lexicon for Physicians: A Poem for Physicians Who Care


What if EHRs, MIPS, and MACRA all stood for something else — something truly meaningful?

Fam Pract Manag. 2019 May-June;26(3):36.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Copyright © 2019 Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD.

I recently read that there are 10 nonclinical administrators and staff for every physician in the United States. This means a greater portion of every health care dollar goes to paying for staff who have nothing to do with direct patient care. Yet these administrators dictate much of what we physicians do. We are forced to see more patients in less time, although many are sicker and on more medications than patients 10 years ago. We are asked to supervise others on the health care team, and we carry an unfair burden of liability. No wonder physician burnout is so high. What's remarkable is that it isn't higher. Despite mounting and exhausting obstacles to excellent, compassionate care, we still strive to care for people every day according to our high standards, placing patients first. I believe this is due to our high levels of resilience and dedication.

But enough is enough. After becoming a patient and experiencing the “other side” of health care, I was inspired to write the following poem to encourage my colleagues to take a stand — for our patients and ourselves.

A New Lexicon for Physicians

Imagine if PQRS and ICD-10,

EHRs and the looming MACRA,

MIPS, and APMs

all stood for something else,

like measures of meaning and care

aligned with what patients need

and with who we are:

true servants at heart.

These sly abbreviations

champion some other dream

that hijacked our profession

and disrupts the health care team.

But we refuse to abbreviate care,

cut corners, detach,

and forget who we are.

I dream of autonomy

and its friend, common sense,

and that sacred relationship

we all still defend.

I dream of scaling that fence

built by faceless EHRs

that split

my vocation … from … the human person

I vowed to assist.

So why not rename

the despised click-click-clicker

that keeps us a–u–t–o–m–a–t–e–d

and every misnomer that traps us

'til we're duly subordinated.

Here's a new dictionary of medical terms

born of our noble dream, not theirs.

Physician, arise! This


Dr. Sánchez, a family physician in Orlando, Fla., is a physician coach, speaker, and author of Recapturing Joy in Medicine. This poem first appeared on her blog,

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Copyright © 2019 Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD.


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