Medical Terminology: The Basics

medical terminologyAn integral part of being a successful medical transcriptionist is understanding medical terminology. Let’s face it, learning medical terminology is a lot like learning a foreign language. It may be even more difficult than reading a doctor’s handwriting or trying to decipher shorthand! However, in all seriousness, if you want to excel in the medical field, specifically as a medical transcriptionist, taking a course in medical terminology is a must. But before you enroll, let’s take a closer look at the 3 basic components of medical terminology.

3 Basic Components of Medical Terminology

  1. Root Word

A root word  is the most basic part of the word. If you remove the prefixes or suffixes from the word, you are left with what is known as the root. Take the word “unfriendly” for example. If you remove the prefix of “un” and the suffix of “ly”, you are left with the root word of friend. The root word is the central meaning of the word that does not change based on the prefixes or suffixes that are added.

  1. Prefix Changes

As outlined above, a prefix can be added to a word to alter its meaning. Just like the prefix of “un” changes friendly to unfriendly, the same applies to medical terminology. Medical prefixes include words such as myo which mean muscle, eri which refers to outer, or endo which means inner, although the list is extensive.

  1. Suffix Changes

Much like a prefix, a suffix is added to the end of the root word to change the meaning. In most cases, the suffix modifies what or who is interacting with the word or what is happening to the word. For example, the suffix of “itis” means inflammation. So a person suffering from tonsillitis is suffering from inflammation of the tonsil.

Breaking medical terminology down by root word, prefix, and suffix is a simpler way to understand what the word is describing. However, hang onto your hat, there are many medical terms to learn. However, once you get the hang of things, you will be speaking the language of doctors in no time.

Learn More About Fast Chart

At Fast Chart, our medical transcription team are experts in medical terminology. Understanding medical terminology is crucial in successful and error free transcription. For this reason, Fast Chart is a 100% US-based company, meaning that language barriers will never interfere with the success of our transcriptions. For more information on our services, or if you are interested in a career in medical transcription, contact us today!

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