Boost Your Career in Medical Claims with an Online Medical Terminology Course

The American healthcare industry is growing exponentially, and a medical terminology course can help assure your success working within this world. The expansion of this industry is creating jobs that are increasingly specific to particular facets of the medical process. As a medical claims specialist, your area of involvement exists within the ever-essential conduit of money flow from one entity to another. You are tasked with mediating between providers and insurance companies concerning payment for medical goods and services rendered to policyholders. This area relies heavily on terminology to explain organs, bones, bodily systems, symptoms, conditions, diagnoses, procedures, prognoses and prescriptions in order to describe medical situations.

Just as people in the legal world speak legalese, accountants speak numbers and software programmers speak HTML code, your profession demands that you possess detailed understanding of the vocabulary of medicine. This subset of the English language contains elements of the everyday vernacular interspersed with archaic Latin and Greek words, lengthy polysyllabic terms and ambiguous abbreviations. A medical terminology course can equip you to excel in this arena by preventing miscommunication, ensuring clerical accuracy and enabling efficiency.

A Comprehensive Medical Terminology Course

An online medical terminology course allows you to learn and progress at your own pace as your schedule allows. Once enrolled, you will have access to a series of instructional modules for one full year. These chapters are designed to introduce you to the essentials of anatomy and physiology and the various systems within the human body. After a general introduction to medical terminology, you will delve into a section on the human body in health and disease which will demonstrate the physical effects of inflammation and trauma. Each chapter will cover specific systems within the body including:

  • Skeletal system
  • Muscular system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Lymphatic and immune systems
  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive system
  • Urinary system
  • Endocrine system
  • Reproductive system
  • Nervous system

You will then learn about the sensory intricacies of the eyes and ears as well as the integumentary system of the skin. Finally, a module on diagnostic procedures and pharmacology will familiarize you with terminology concerning specific conditions and ailments and the various medicines prescribed to treat them.

Benefit from Interactive Learning

Online Medical Terminology CourseHaving online access to a medical terminology course means learning through the audio and visual aspects of the training modules. Material is reinforced through interactive review exercises. Challenging medical terms can be mastered by a playback feature that allows you to hear the correct pronunciation of uncommon words as many times as necessary. Tests are given to assess your progress as you move through the material, and answers to quiz questions are accompanied by detailed explanations for future reference. A wide variety of games designed to enhance your learning experience are also a part of this course, accompanied by case studies, multimedia animations and a glossary of terms and definitions. A dynamic array of teaching methods assure that the detail-heavy nature of the material is presented in engaging, interactive formats that encourage learning through audio playback and colorful infographics.

Excel Through Effective Communication

The Medical Terminology for Health Professions course is designed to prepare you to successfully communicate with other health professionals by enabling you to understand the meaning of medical terms, root words, prefixes and suffixes. Your ability to recognize basic medical terms will allow you to process medical claims in an efficient manner without having to continually search for the definitions of medical diagnoses, procedures and conditions. Medical abbreviations are frequently used in all aspects of the industry, and learning how to decipher them through this course will let you experience the benefits of efficient correspondence rather than the hindrances of miscommunication. You will learn to spell and pronounce essential medical words and terms that, while uncommon in everyday language, are used daily in the medical world.

Equip Yourself with Analytical Tools

There are thousands of words that are specific to the medical world, and while this course in medical terminology teaches you the fundamental vocabulary, it also teaches the skill to decipher advanced terminology through deductive analysis. You will learn medical root words, prefixes and suffixes so that you can dissect unfamiliar terms and extract their meaning by understanding specific parts of the words. For example, the suffix “itis” indicates inflammation of a specific part of the body, while the term “ectomy” means the removal of a certain part of the body. The differences between tonsillitis and a tonsillectomy, while involving the same body part, are quite significant — and will mean very different ways in which a medical claim is transcribed. Meanwhile, the word “operative” means a surgical operation, yet when it is paired with a variety of prefixes, it’s can change significantly. This course will allow you to know that the prefixes “pre,” “peri” and “post” — when paired with the word operative mean either before a surgery, before and after a surgery, or only after a surgery, respectively.

Certify Your Knowledge and Earn College Credit

Your one-year access to this online medical terminology course allows you to learn at your own pace and awards you a “passing” status with a 70% average on module tests and a short overall course evaluation. Upon completion you will earn 9.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) authorized by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. Your certificate of completion allows you to demonstrate to recruiters and future coworkers that you are serious about a career in medical claims, and that you took the necessary steps to educate yourself so that you can effectively communicate in the language of medicine. For students requiring college credit, Corexcel partners with ITCAP to award 4.0 college credits through ITCAP’s regionally accredited college partner. You can submit the details of the course to your institution before enrolling to ensure credits will be accepted and applied.

Contact Corexcel to enroll in our online medical terminology course and begin your education in the vast vocabulary of the world of medicine. Understanding this language will empower you to excel as a medical claims specialist.

Correcting Miscommunication: Why the Corexcel Medical Terminology Course Can Prevent Serious Problems

At times, the world of medicine can be affected by miscommunication, which in turn has proven to be detrimental to some patients and even fatal to others. This problem is propagated by way of poorly inscribed and mistakenly interpreted medical abbreviations that lead to misdiagnoses, inaccurate prescriptions and incorrect administration of medical dosages.

Because the expanding world of medicine has become very compartmentalized with new fields of study and specialization, many of the abbreviations and acronyms do not translate from one field to another, from one department to another and from one practitioner to another.

The Corexcel Online Medical Terminology Course is designed to update those currently active in a medical vocation and to prepare future medical professionals to use medical terminology correctly and to be aware of the top abbreviations that are misused — the exact acronyms and abbreviations that, when misused, result in negative outcomes.

The Usual Suspects

In 2004, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety issued a “Do Not Use” list comprised of the most commonly miswritten and misinterpreted medical abbreviations. At the top of this docket sits the letter “U” which is commonly used to represent “units” yet is frequently mistaken for the number “0.”

An example: In the instance of a doctor prescribing “10U” meaning that the patient should take 10 units per medication interval, the typical misreading would be “100.” This would put the patient in danger of taking a dose that is tenfold the prescribed amount. In the instance of a highly toxic painkiller such as Vicodin or Oxycodone, the results could be lethal.

An Increase in Oversight

As benign as it may seem at face value, unreadable abbreviations and misused acronyms can result in unfortunate outcomes. According to The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, it is estimated that clerical medication errors account for some 7,000 deaths per year, 81% of the mistakes occurring during the prescribing stage of the medical process.

The source above also reports that doctors are responsible for 78.5% of abbreviation errors, with nurses sharing 15.1% of the burden while a mere 6.4% of inaccuracies were penned by pharmaceutical or other staff.

Since doctors have been typecast as scrawlers of hieroglyphics, it may seem that only the most seasoned of nurses can translate. Although these miscommunications are often not the fault of the caregiver, there are cases wherein a fairly routine medical procedure became an emergency situation due to misread abbreviations or poor penmanship. Here are three such instances:

• A doctor prescribed a hydromorphone epidural for a patient, writing the script as “2 µg/mL.” It was then misunderstood by the pharmacist who labeled and prepared the patient’s prescription as “2 mg/mL.” The pattern continued with the attending nurse, who misread the label and subsequently administered a dose with a 1,000-fold variance.

The patient soon experienced difficulty breathing, was intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation along with being given additional pharmacology and chest compressions to mitigate a diminishing cardiac function. The epidural was removed and naloxone was used to reverse the toxic effects.

• An acyclovir treatment was ordered for a 62-year-old patient on hemodialysis. The order read “acyclovir (unknown dose) with HD.” The practitioner who read the order interpreted the “HD” abbreviation as TID — meaning three times daily.

Acyclovir is given intravenously, and then only once daily after hemodialysis taking into consideration the patient’s renal impairment immediately after dialysis. In this case, the patient received three doses over a two-day stretch, resulting in mental deterioration and subsequent death.

• Mid-sternal chest pain in a 53-year-old patient was diagnosed as a gastrointestinal malady. As a result of this assessment, an “MDX/GI” cocktail was prescribed — which is a compound consisting of Xylocaine® (lidocaine), Mylanta® (aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, and simethicone) and diclomine.

The patient developed labored breathing followed by respiratory distress, requiring an administration of epinephrine to reverse the symptoms. Although the patient’s allergy to lidocaine was documented, the attending physician and nursing staff were unaware that lidocaine is a key ingredient in the MDX/GI cocktail.

The danger of this abbreviation lies in its ambiguity. Although the “X” stands for lidocaine, it refers to the brand name of the drug (Xylocaine®) rather than the drug itself. Furthermore, the symbol “X” as an abbreviation has nearly a dozen different meanings in the medical vernacular.*

No matter the outcome, each case strongly supports the critical need for an ongoing education in medical terminology and a system that strives toward consistency in usage of medical abbreviations.

Not-so-straightforward solutions

Consider the remaining 6,997 cases involving similar situations that were propagated by abbreviations that were either misinterpreted or poorly written. The obvious solution would seem to be to discourage the use of the medical terms most frequently responsible for patient harm, yet doing so in a cohesive way across the breadth of all medical professions has proven to be very difficult.

Because not all practitioners have or are required to comply with a universal set of guidelines where medical abbreviations are concerned, the responsibility by default in affecting clear communication, then falls upon the shoulders of the individual medical practitioner.

Corexcel’s Online Medical Terminology Course empowers aspiring and practicing medical professionals to take control of their role in the chain of communication, be it as an attending physician, nurse, pharmacist or other vocation within the medical community.

Supporting Medical Professionals and Patient Safety

In the wake of rapid medical advancement, diversification of specialties and development of new fields of study, medical professionals can equip themselves with a comprehensive understanding of terminology, abbreviations and the most commonly miswritten and misinterpreted of both. By doing so, the results of poor communication can be diminished.

If you’re looking to strengthen and improve your communication in the medical field, contact Corexcel to learn more about our online medical terminology course. The more you learn about using and identifying the proper medical terms, the more effective and accurate you will be in preventing harm on future patients.

 

*Brunetti, Luigi, John P. Santell, and Rodney W. Hicks. “The Impact of Abbreviations on Patient Safey.” The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety 33.9 (2007): 576-80. Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Sept.-Oct. 2007. Web. May 2017.