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Knowledge of Medical Slang Terms Ensures Quick Medical Documentation

Knowledge of Medical Slang TermsMedical slang is a major challenge with regard to medical transcription, and it requires efficient medical transcription services to make sense of these terms and transcribe them accurately. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and other clinical staff use medical slang and common forms of its expression include words, abbreviations, and acronyms related to medical terms/conditions, events or persons. Why do medical professionals use slang? Usually, it is to communicate his/her idea or clinical finding/diagnosis/assessment to other providers in the care team in a quick and concise manner. However, these terms often become confusing or even derogatory at times. Slang terms that are ambiguous are typically those words that can be interpreted or used for more than one medical term. Interestingly, derogatory but amusing medical slang words used for medical specialties include “baby catcher” for obstetrician or “butchers” or “knife-happy” for surgeons. When transcribing physician dictations, knowledge of such expressions will help the transcriptionist to quickly complete the medical documentation. Lack of knowledge in this area will lead to erroneous transcripts and ambiguity in the medical chart.

Dr. Maurice Bernstein in his enlightening blog “Medical Slang Leading to Logical Fallacy: a Practice to Be Avoided,” points out how medical slang can become disrespectful, ambiguous and in relation to patients themselves slang expressions used by the doctor would represent a professional ad hominem improperly affecting the doctor’s judgement regarding the history and facts the patient presents. When a derogatory/slang word is applied to a person, the physician using the slang may reach an erroneous conclusion that would lead him/her to reject any argument or facts given by the patient. This is because the provider has inhibitions about the reliability or character of the patient. Such conclusions are often unjustifiable. Any information provided by a patient must be reasonably evaluated and validated. The provider’s personal decision regarding the patient as a person should not prejudice this evaluation.

In various countries medical slang terms are considered unethical and unacceptable. Now that patients can access their medical records, the appearance of such terms may prejudice them against their caregivers. Professional medical transcription services pay special attention to such instances, ensuring that offensive or demeaning slang terms are not found on patient’s charts. On the other hand, they will ensure that all clinically relevant slang usage is accurately transcribed.
Knowledge of Medical Slang Terms
The following are some of the commonly used medical slang terms:

  • Accels = acceleration
  • Angio = angiography
  • Appy = appendectomy
  • Bicarb = bicarbonate
  • Bili = bilirubin
  • Cath = catheter
  • Cath’d = catheterized
  • Circ = circumflex
  • Crit = hematocrit
  • Cysto = cystoscopy
  • Detox = detoxification
  • Decels = decelerations
  • Endo = endoscopy
  • Eos = eosinophils
  • Fluoro = fluoroscopy
  • Gastroc = gastrocnemius
  • H.flu = haemophilus influenza
  • Heme/oc = hematology or oncology
  • Hep A = hepatitis A
  • Hep B = hepatitis B
  • Hep c = hepatitis C
  • Labs = laboratory
  • Lytes = electrolytes
  • Med onc = medical oncology
  • Mets = metastases
  • Neuro = neurology
  • Nitro = nitroglycerine
  • Osteo = osteoporosis
  • Ped = paediatrics
  • Pen = penicillin
  • Rad onc = radiation oncology
  • Sats = saturations
  • Sono = sonogram
  • T- max = temperature maximum
  • Tox = toxicology

Physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers can ensure speedy and accurate medical documentation with the support of an experienced medical transcription service company. With reliable support from medical transcriptionists well-versed in medical terminology, medical slang, abbreviations and multiple accents there need be no concerns regarding misinterpreting abbreviations and slang terms. Providers can continue to use abbreviations while talking or dictating, ensure quick and efficient communication and move on to the next patient.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.

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