Interpret and Apply Medical Terminology Appropriately
While most medical office personnel, in either setting, will not necessarily have to know vast amounts of technical medical terminology, it is important to have a working knowledge in order to effectively fulfill your duties in a medical setting.
There are numerous resources online, college courses, books, and flash cards one can use to learn medical terminology. Every office will likely have a good medical dictionary and other resources handy for quick reference as well, but it really doesn’t take a lot for any person to gain an understanding of medical words as they relate to the human body and common medical practices.
The easiest way to remember the unfamiliar, often tongue twisting words, is to learn their parts; the prefix, root, and suffix. Nearly every medical word has all three of these parts, but they all have a root word because that is the core of the word and it carries the meaning.
The prefix is a letter or letters that are set before the root word to change or add to the meaning of the root. For example, if your root word is likeable and you added the prefix un before it, it would change the meaning from something you might like to something you could not or would not like. A prefix may also indicate a place, time, or number such as in the word pregame. The suffix pre indicates that something will take place before the game, which is the root of the word pregame. The suffix is the letter or letters added to the end of a word that modifies the meaning. In the word homeless, the suffix is less and it changes the noun home to indicate something is without a home. In the case of medical terminology, the suffix can also indicate a procedure, a condition, or a disease or disorder.
So, let’s look at some common medical prefixes and demystify these words.
Ab - this one is easy as we can all relate to the word absent which means "not here". The prefix ab means away from, as in the word