What relationship do melons have to the color of your stools? Medical coders, transcriptionists or medical assistants will immediately understand how this relates to their knowledge of medical terminology. If you’ve ever messed up badly while transcribing a patient’s chart, your provider’s sharp disapproval is something that probably stayed with you a while

Not all medical terminology blunders are funny, but your coworkers won’t likely let you live down the ones that cracked them up! The most reliable way to avoid supplying the doctors’ lounge with a regular supply of side-splitting jokes, is to learn basic medical terminology inside out. For a medical coder, transcriptionist or scribe, learning how to spell a term and knowing what it sounds like, is way more important than being able to personally pronounce it.

Don’t get put off by the long words – that’s a common pitfall. Instead, learn how to break them down. Just because you can’t pronounce a medical term doesn’t prevent you from spelling it correctly or from understanding how it is used in everyday patient care. And that’s the central focus of every healthcare encounter: caring for the medical needs of the people who come to your facility. Once you realize how important it is to patients that you document clearly and correctly, there’s your motivation to get beyond the fear of “big words”.

As mentioned before, medical terminology errors aren’t always funny. Using the wrong medical term in an electronic chart can also lead to dangerous miscommunication or wildly inaccurate medical billing. So even if you think your job only involves typing what you hear, you really need to know the language that you’re typing in – or somebody could get hurt. The responsibility to proofread carefully goes without saying – unless you want to be the hand behind a hilarious chart entry about patients passing “melonic stools”. (For medical terminology newbies, the correct term is “melenic”, the other word sounds like you could be passing watermelons 😉).

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