What is the Importance of Medical Terminology in the Health Care Field?

With today’s emphasis on good healthcare, along with the increase in malpractice lawsuits, the importance of medical terminology in the healthcare field has never been stronger. This terminology is used throughout the healthcare industry from health information management (HIM), the provider and payer right down to the patient. For many reasons, it’s vital that everyone be “on the same page” in regards to correct medical verbiage at every level of healthcare.

Improves Patient Care

Often patients don’t understand the terminology that doctors use when discussing their condition or their treatments. The patient may ask the nurse what the doctor meant, but if they don’t understand either, there can be a lot of confusion. When all members of the healthcare team use the same terminology, they can explain it to the patient. Good patient education can not only lead to satisfaction but can also make the patient more eager to be involved.

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Makes for Standardized Care

Healthcare terminology has long been an important part of the healthcare industry and has been referred to as the language of medicine. Electronic health records are being used everywhere today. Healthcare terminology must be used by not just humans but on computers as well. This terminology is used in specific medical terms and codes. According to The American Health Information Management Association, there are four different types of codes used in healthcare:

  • administrative codes
  • clinical codes
  • reference terminologies
  • interface terminologies

With medical professionals all understanding and using the same codes and terminologies, they’re able to communicate effectively. When they’re all using the same medical or healthcare terminology, they’re all able to do their part in providing the best in healthcare. This can be:

  • a medical procedure
  • a health condition
  • prescription drugs

Whether it’s HIPAA compliance training, staff instructions or reading a patient’s chart, everyone understanding and using the same terminology makes for standardized care throughout.

Better Patient Safety

Patient safety is of utmost importance to prevent:

  • accidents
  • healthcare complications
  • lawsuits

When quality and standardized communication is used by everyone who is part of the healthcare team, there is less chance of mistakes being made. For example, if the doctor can clearly read a patient’s chart, it helps the doctor provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. If the wrong medical terminology is used, it can drastically change the care the patient receives. A wrong diagnosis or wrong treatment plan can be harmful or even fatal.

More Efficiency in Health Care

With all the patients a healthcare professional sees throughout the day, they may not always have time to write long descriptions in the charts. Even if they did, nurses and other physicians might not be able to understand what’s written. When all medical personnel use the same medical or health terminology, they can all understand what’s on the patient’s chart. They can provide them with the best possible care.

Additionally, time isn’t wasted having to ask what’s written on the patient’s chart. Medical codes and terminology are also used for the billing and reimbursement process. This also adds to patient overall care because there’s less chance of the patient being billed for the wrong procedure.

Doctors, nurses and every member of the healthcare team have usually chosen their careers to be in positions to help others. Knowing and acknowledging the importance of medical terminology in the healthcare field is an important part of providing that help.