When Medical Terminology is Appropriate to Use
Using Appropriate Terminologies at the Correct Times
Medical terminology can be difficult for the average person to take in and understand. When trouble strikes, patients anxiously await information from medical staff. They rely on easily digestible information in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
As a medical professional, you need to be sure that you are using the appropriate terminologies at the correct times – and with the right people. The Medical Assistant program at Ayers Career College will help you to identify when medical terminology is appropriate to use.
Medical Terminology vs. Plain English
A recent study published in the British Dental Journal stated that more than 30% of English speaking patients were unable to define simple medical terminology such as “lesion” and “benign.” The inability to define these common medical terms shows that even when medical professionals think they are careful, they are likely causing more harm than they know.
A a matter of fact, 30% of English-speaking survey participants thought that a biopsy was a confirmation of cancer. Here is an exaggerated example of how medical terminology can confuse patients and loved ones in an emergency room:
Medical Terminology: Abduction was done. Perfed appy evident, secondary hemiparesis noted. Complaints of chest pain, PQRST stat.
Patient’s Perception: Abduction!? AHH! I’ve been kidnapped by high-tech aliens!
Plain English: The patient needed to have a limb moved away from the midsection of their body. They have a burst appendix that’s infected, partial paralysis is present. An evaluation of the chest pain will be done immediately.
Communication is a Two-Way Street
Yes, patients should have a basic understanding of medical terminology. But you should be prepared to break things down for patients when describing conditions or procedures.
Medical Professionals: Need to be taught to speak to patients. Sometimes you may feel like you need to talk to patients like they are children, but you must remember that a person’s health and how they regard it can be a triggering subject. Do your best to be compassionate and ask them if they have questions while you are explaining.
Patients: Should have a general understanding of medical terminology. Patients should prepare for their medical visits and ask questions, always.
Finding the Right Balance
Being a medical professional can be an esteemed and rewarding career. The Medical Assistant program at Ayers Career College will prepare you to talk to both patients and doctors throughout your career. We’ll prepare you for the exam room and the waiting room – and we’ll help you reach your career goals faster! Ready to get started? Call today for more information! 1-800-317-0131
This article was originally written and published in 2017 and was updated in 2019.
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