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Are you on Team Disc or Team Disk?

Right now, at a hospital somewhere, a surgeon just performed a discectomy, and it’s important to know if, in the operative report, the surgeon spelled “disc” with a “C” or with a “K.”

This is important because quality is based on variability. When you have variations in spelling, what would be the impact?

For practical purposes, think of it as being on Team Disc or Team Disk. You must properly understand the impact of using a “C” or “K.”

Suzie Constant, chief operations officer at Neural Junction Medical Center in Nashville, TN, has great interest in how spelling affects quality in healthcare. “I am purely nonclinical, but I look forward to any opportunity to improve our quality metrics.”

As Neural Junction looks for opportunities, we asked two of their spine surgeons Rick Fibrosus, M.D., and Angela Pulposus, M.D. to give their insights.

According to Dr. Fibrosus, “’C’ is the third letter of the alphabet, and ‘K’ is the 11th letter. Why would you travel much further down the alphabet to get to the letter ‘K’ when you can complete your task with a ‘C?’ Also, a ‘C’ is round like a vertebral disc which is what I operate on.”

Dr. Pulposus retorts, “When you spell disc with a ‘K,’ the ‘K’ is more distinctive. It takes three distinct lines to create a ‘K.’ And there is nothing wrong with getting more exercise taking eight more steps to get to a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C.’ The ‘K’ also reminds me of a computer disk which is round like a vertebral disk.”

Both surgeons make great points. What team are you on?




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