Overview of Pharmacists and Medical terminology
Pharmacists are specialists in medicine who help people in the provision, usage, preservation and storage of medicine. Pharmacists help people live a healthy life by providing solutions through medication to cure diseases and illnesses. In the pharmacy or medical world there exist terminologies that might be unknown to common people but they can easily be understood by professionals who study or practice medicine. Medical terminology is generally used in the field of medicine to describe a specific subject, disease, medicine, or even body parts. Medical terminology is crucial in the field since it helps create a standardized language for medical practitioners. There is both general and specific terminology and it is used depending on the context.
Understanding Medical Terminology
In every field of study, there is a language that is commonly used and thus it becomes the terminology for that particular field. Medicine as a field of study also uses terminology to refer to specific items be its body parts, prescriptions, illnesses and many more. Medical terminology can, therefore, be best described as a language used by medical practitioners and more so, pharmacists. To many, medical terminology might feel like meaningless jargon. What happens in creating medical terminology is that prefixes and suffixes are combined to come up with a name that is generally accepted. From a broad perspective, medical terminology is used in recording clinical findings or events within the medical environment. The main purpose of having general and specific terminology is for communication.
Basic Medical Terminology
In general, health care field terminology varies from patient-centered, person-centered and finally patient directed care. This terminology is used to refer to different types of care afforded in a health organization. According to Chatto and Kumar, such terminology can be confusing to customers but to an extent, this is the most basic terminology in the field of medicine. Patient-centered terminology is used to describe the type of care which is meant to denote the easiness of access to personal health care due to the aid of tools such as technology. On the other hand, personal-centered care is used to explain the concept of a person as a whole and not a medical condition. Finally, patient-directed care is explained to be more on the directives of the patient. These are basic examples of terminology which have been applied in the field of medicine and they can be easily understood.
Use of Medical Terminology
Medical terminology is used by pharmacists and medical practitioners all over the world. The most important aspect of medical terminology is that it has commonalities and can be used extensively by medics and can be understood easily. In the field of pharmacy, the terminology is used to describe medications and medical conditions. Such terminology is essential in that it eases communication and helps minimize human errors. However, these terms can be difficult to translate into different languages. They are mostly scientific names that can not be altered and for easy understanding they are universal. According to Marcilly et al., medical terminology is used daily but some clinicians might find it difficult to apply in their practice (2). This implies the difficulty with which using medical terminology seems but with practice and application pharmacists can prevail and find it easy to communicate.
General Medical Terminology
General medical terminology is a commonly used term in the everyday life of a pharmacist. These terms are not complicated to understand since they refer to general and common conditions that are familiar. For instance, the term abrasion refers to cuts or scraps that are not serious. Biopsy refers to sample tissue that is being taken for testing. Chronic as used in the field of medicine refers to a condition that is recuring. Other terms such as fracture are used to denote a broken bone. When pharmacists use words such as inpatient or outpatient it is in reference to patients who requires hospitalization and the ones who do not require hospitalization respectively. Such terminology can be useful in the field of medicine and is useful generally without any specific condition of body parts.
Specific Medical Terminology
Specific medical terminology is applied to denote specific conditions or parts involved in clinical medicine. These terms might be a bit more complex than the general terms since they are more scientific. Examples are Cardio/o, which is used in relation to heart conditions; Derm/a/o is used in pertinent to a skin conditions or parts of the skin, Hermit/o pertains to blood and also Pulmon/o pertaining to lungs. These terms are specific in that they can not be used interchangeably but can only pertain to certain conditions alone. For example, when referring to a heart condition or part cardio applies there but it cannot be applied when referring to the lungs. Therefore, medical terminology ends up being specific in that aspect.
Emerging Medical Terminology
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the word of medical practitioners, more so pharmacists, have been treated to the new and renewed medical jargon. Many doctors of pharmacy (PharmD) have been trying to demulsify the COVID-19 pandemic by coming up with medicine and vaccines that will cure the world. In the context of the current pandemic, there is a terminology that has emerged. SARS-CoV-19 is a common trend term that denotes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, which is commonly used in the current situation. Another example is infodemics which have been created to refer to information and epidemics. This jargon of words is what makes the medical field easy to master and apply for pharmacists. According to Upadhyay and Maroof, Covid-19 has made some new jargons re-emerge and be used in the latest medical context (5881). This shows how important the use of terminology is in the medical field.
Advantages of Terminology
Medical terminology has its advantages in that it helps avoid medical errors. In that different diagnosis and medications vary in their usage. Thus, when pharmacists use terminology they create clarity making it impossible to commit errors when diagnosing and recommending medication. Another advantage of terminology is that there is easiness in communicating. When medical practitioners communicate using jargon it becomes more effective. Also, during training and staff meetings the communication is easily understood. Finally, terminology can improve job performance in that it makes someone more competitive.
Disadvantages of Terminology
Terminology can be confusing to those who do not understand its meaning; mostly to patients who have little knowledge of using medical jargon as they can find it difficult to understand the communication between two pharmacists or medical practitioners. The best thing for the medical practitioners to do is to explain those terms to avoid confusion. Medical terminology does not leave any room for ambiguity that presents a challenge to pharmacists and other medics in the sense that one has to be completely sure of which terms to use to avoid complications. In instances where medical practitioners are not completely familiar with the terminology used communication can become impossible. Thus, there is a need for all those in the field of medicine to ensure they are familiar with most terminology so as to avoid communication barriers.
Chattu, VijayKumar, and Raman Kumar. “What Is In The Name? Understanding Terminologies Of Patient-Centered, Person-Centered, And Patient-Directed Care!”. Journal Of Family Medicine And Primary Care, vol 7, no. 3, 2018, p. 487-488.
Marcilly, Romaric, et al. “How To Interact With Medical Terminologies? Formative Usability Evaluations Comparing Three Approaches For Supporting The Use Of MedDRA By Pharmacovigilance Specialists”. BMC Medical Informatics And Decision Making, vol 20, no. 1, 2020, p. 1-15.
Upadhyay, MadhuKumari, and KhanAmir Maroof. “Understanding The Emerging And Reemerging Terminologies Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic”. Journal Of Family Medicine And Primary Care, vol 9, no. 12, 2020, p. 5881-588.