Frequently Asked Question: Do I need this “procedure”?

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We asked you, dear readers, to share your burning health literacy questions. Over the next few weeks, we’ll do our best to answer them.

Up first: The word “procedure.” Is there anything simpler? Of course there is!

We offer you 2 solutions — depending on how specific your content is. The gist: You can say what you mean in a friendly, accessible way without relying on a jargon word like “procedure.”

If you’re using “procedure” in a general sense, ask yourself if you can replace it with “appointment” or “surgery.” A lot of the time the answer will be yes. These words are good substitutes and will help your content sound friendly and accessible.

For example:

  • Follow these steps to get ready for your procedure appointment.
  • Your doctor’s office will schedule a date for your procedure surgery.

On the other hand, if you’re telling people about a single type of procedure, just use the name of the procedure — after explaining it, of course.

  • Follow these steps to get ready for your procedure colonoscopy.
  • Your doctor’s office will schedule a date for your procedure biopsy.

Either way, there’s really no need for “procedure.”

The bottom line: It’s fine to use a specific term (like “colonoscopy”) or a general one (like “surgery”). In most cases, both are better than using a vague jargon term like “procedure.”