My husband is a computer guy. He works for a financial services organization in their technical infrastructure area.
They have a system of looking at things like computer crashes, outages, program failures that rings so true for medicine that I needed to blog about it.
Incident or Problem.
In technology circles, when a system experiences an outage, they refer to it as an incident. It’s the immediate thing that is wrong that needs attending to now.
When they refer to a problem, they are actually talking about the CAUSE of the incident. The problem could be bad programming, a smoked computer, a bad wire, an improperly trained person or other such thing.
In my acupuncture clinic, I usually see people for their “incidents” and we do need to address it as it’s their pain or circumstance. The real thing to address however is the problem. The underlying cause. Maybe the incident is elbow pain but the problem is overuse or lack of stretching before and after. Maybe the incident is foot pain but the problem is an unconscious habit of pressing their foot against their desk. The incident may be digestion, but the problem is their food choices.
Fixing problems is harder than treating incidents but longer lasting. I usually point out the problem and nudge people to dealing with it.