Medical terminology is used in various healthcare professions. To help guide you through what medical terminology really consists of, we decided to share some frequently asked questions.
What is Medical Terminology?
Medical terminology is the language and words used in the healthcare profession to communicate patient diagnosis, treatments, and diseases. Medical terms are composed of root words, suffixes, and prefixes.
Why is Medical Terminology Important in Healthcare?
Knowing medical terminology is essential for success in the healthcare industry, especially if you work with professionals such as doctors and nurses. Understanding medical terminology is key for those in clinical and non-clinical roles. It helps you to understand of what is being discussed and to read patient care charts. Medical terminology is also used in medical coding, billing and other administrative tasks.
Which Medical Terminology Word Part Provides the General Meaning of the Word?
There are three basic parts of a word we focus on when teaching medical terminology: root word, suffix, and prefix. The root word provides the general meaning of the word. Many of these words were developed from Latin and Greek languages. Suffixes and prefixes are added to give the word more meaning.
What is a Word Root in Medical Terminology?
Word roots, or root words, in medical terminology are the base part of the word. Suffixes and prefixes are added to the root word to give it more meaning or modify its meaning. For example, you are probably familiar with the term tonsillitis, which is an inflammation of the tonsils. However, the root word tonsilla is a Latin word that refers to the tonsils.
What Does the Prefix Mean in Medical Terminology?
A prefix is added to the front of a root word to give it a more specific meaning. For example, the prefix ‘a’ usually negates the meaning of the root word. So, atypical means not typical. In medical terminology, a prefix usually refers to the location and intensity of a condition.
What is a Suffix in Medical Terminology?
A suffix is added to the end of a root word to modify the meaning. For example, the suffix -itis indicates inflammation. So, when placed with the prefix arthro- (joints), it becomes arthritis, an inflammation of the joints. In medical terminology, a suffix usually refers to a procedure, condition, or disease.
What is the Purpose of Combining Vowels?
Combining a vowel with a root word in medical terminology is a way to describe a specific condition or structure. Root words with vowels may also have prefixes or suffixes to clarify their meaning further.
Why is Proper Spelling of Medical Terminology in Health-Related Professions Important?
Correct spelling of medical terminology by healthcare professionals is critical to patient treatment and diagnosis. There are hundreds of medical words that professionals use to specify conditions, diseases, medications, and more. A spelling error of a term could have serious and long-lasting implications on patient care. For example, an incorrect spelling of a drug could result in the patient receiving an incorrect prescription for the wrong medication.
How Can I Get a Medical Terminology Certificate?
Anyone can learn medical terminology with a self-paced, online course like the one offered by Corexcel. At the end of the course, you can earn a certificate of completion to prove you’ve mastered medical terminology. With engaging and interactive exercises, you’ll learn word roots and how to use prefixes, suffixes, and combining vowels to construct more complex medical terms.