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How Do You Spell ‘Healthcare’?

I really should not be so absorbed about the spelling of one particular word – but I am. Especially when that word is ‘healthcare.’ You see, I have ALWAYS combined ‘health’ and ‘care’ together, making it a one-word noun, rather than spelling it as ‘health care,’ a two-word noun or adjective.

But apparently my preference is just that, a personal preference. This spelling debate is being waged by healthcare (notice my spelling?) professionals from all walks of life – physicians, media, academia, and self-described ‘Heinz 57’ people who don’t fit nicely into any of these professional buckets (such as this author!).

Because my work includes blogs, white papers and research studies that pertain to the medical field, I have paid special attention to how certain writers spell ‘healthcare’ – e.g. do they spell it as one word or two words? Sometimes, it may even have a hyphen added between both words – “health-care.” So, which is the correct way to spell this most-often-used word?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. It appears that it boils down to preference…and perhaps which part of the world you reside. According to the Grammarist:

Healthcare is on its way to becoming a one-word noun throughout the English-speaking world. The change is well underway in British publications, where healthcare already appears about three times as often as health care and is used as both a noun and an adjective. Many American and Canadian publications resist the change, meanwhile, and health care remains the more common form in North American newswriting, as well as in government and scholarly texts. In many cases—such as on health-related U.S. government websites—health care is the noun (e.g., “your health care is important”) and healthcare is the adjective (e.g., “find a healthcare professional”), but this is not consistently borne out, and both forms are widely used both ways. Many publications and websites seem to have no policy on this at all.

Bottom line:

If your preference is to include a space or hyphen between ‘health’ and ‘care,’ you are to be forgiven! With this in mind, however, I hope that you will please forgive my proclivity to spell this common phrase as ‘healthcare’!

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