Celebrating the Word Physician: A Language of Respect

A group of doctors with the words " we are physicians !"


Taking care of patients is not a business transaction.

Kudos to Bayhealth, a Delaware company that removed the word “provider” from their lexicon.

Language matters in our healthcare system; it shapes our perception and can empower or diminish the vital relationships between physicians and patients. That’s why the recent decision by physician leaders at Bayhealth in Delaware to stop using the term “provider” deserves our attention.

The term “provider” has long been associated with devaluing the physician’s role. It reduces their extensive education and training to a generic label, failing to acknowledge the depth of their qualifications. It’s no wonder many physicians view this term as negative and derogatory. It undermines their professional worth and purpose, contributing to the growing issue of physician burnout.

The decision by Bayhealth aligns with the views of reputable organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. These organizations recognize the harmful implications of the term “provider” and encourage physicians to reclaim their professional identity. By emphasizing professionalism and respect, they aim to restore the focus on the patient-physician relationship, which lies at the heart of quality care.

Bayhealth’s bold step to remove the term “provider” from their medical staff bylaws and publications sends a clear message. They are committed to fostering a culture that values the work and role of physicians. By actively avoiding the use of the term, they reaffirm the importance of the patient-physician relationship and promote a sense of trust and partnership in healthcare.

Words have the power to shape our reality. The decision by Bayhealth to drop the term “provider” shines a light on the need for a language that respects and honors the expertise of physicians. By advocating for this shift, we empower physicians to provide the high-quality care they are trained for while reminding patients of the significance of the healthcare relationship.

Let’s applaud Bayhealth’s commitment to change and support endeavors that prioritize the humanity and expertise of our role as physicians.


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