There are many groups of words that sound alike (homonyms) in the English language and in the medical field; but their meanings are very different, and can change the whole outcome of a medical written report if not used correctly. You may say, "Is it such a big deal if there are a few mistakes in a patient's report?" The answer is that this is considered a legal document and has an affect on possible insurance claims, future diagnoses, operations, and plans of treatment. A simple mistake could mean big problems for the person whose report is inaccurate.
Here are some examples of word groups (homonyms) that the medical transcriptionist must know whether they fit in a report or not and flag them for inspection if they do not seem to fit:
- alveolar - pertaining to an alveolus
- alveoli - plural of alveolus
- alveolus - a small saclike dilatation
- alveus - a trough or canal
- alvus - the abdomen with its contained viscera
- abduction - a drawing away from the midline
- addiction - dependence on a drug or some habit
- adduction - a drawing toward the midline
- dysphagia - difficulty in swallowing
- dysphasia - impairment of the faculty of speech
- dysplasia - abnormality in develo9pment of tissues or body parts
- dyspragia - painful performance of any function
- dyspraxia - partial loss of ability to perform coordinated acts
Another area where words sound alike but have different meanings involves medications. My personal preference is that my medical reports are correct and accurate so that I can receive the best possible patient care my doctor can give. A doctor cannot remember every detail about a patient, and the reports are extremely important as the doctors, nurses, and medical staff uses them to make decisions on a patient's care.
It is important for patients to read their reports and understand what is written for their own protection, as many establishments are now having doctors type their own reports or under-qualified people type them. If a doctor moves to another practice or is unavailable, the report stands as a legal document. This happened to a friend of mine who went to the doctor for an insurance claim and the doctor dictated the wrong reason for the patient's visit. Insurance companies may look for any loophole to deny a claim. This particular incident caused the insurance company to deny the claim ultimately and left the patient in limbo for medical care.
Other blogs I have written on this subject are: