Welcome to Ohio Medical Career College's online Medical Terminology class! This short course, designed for health professionals, explores methods to decipher the meanings of medical terms and help students familiarize with the basic vocabularies used in medical textbooks and clinical settings.
Medical Terminology is a vocabulary for accurately describing the human body and associated components, conditions, processes and process in a science-based manner. It is to be used in the medical and nursing fields. This systematic approach to word building and term comprehension is based on the concept of: (1) word roots, (2) prefixes, and (3) suffixes. The word is a term derived from a source language such as Greek or Latin and usually describes a body part. The prefix can be added in front of the term to modify the word root by giving additional information about the location of an organ, the number of parts, or time involved. Suffixes are attached to the end of a word root to add meaning such as condition, disease process, or procedure.
Decoding the medical term is an important process. Once experience is gained in the process of forming and decoding medical terminology, the process begins to make sense and becomes easier. One approach involves breaking down the word by evaluating the meaning of the suffix first, then prefix, and finally the word root. This will generally produce a good result for the experienced healthcare professional. When in doubt, the result should be verified by a medical terminology dictionary. The process of learning a new language, such as medical terminology, is a challenging yet attainable goal as the basic rules—once learned—make the process exponentially easier.
Online search engines such as Google or Bing are powerful reference tools. Students could easily enter medical terms into a dialogue box and initiate a search. There are also numerous online medical dictionaries to peruse. Nevertheless, if the basic concepts of word building are understood, many words are intuitively understandable to aficionados of medical terminology.