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Learn How to Speak 'Health Care'.


Allergy: An abnormally high sensitivity to certain substances, such as pollens, foods, or microorganisms. Common indications of allergies may include sneezing, itching, and skin rashes.

Anesthesia: A drug, administered for medical or surgical purposes, which induces partial or total loss of sensation.

Antibiotic: A substance, such as penicillin or streptomycin, produced by or derived from certain fungi, bacteria, and other organisms, that can destroy or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Antibiotics are widely used in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Benefit: Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage.

Clinic: A facility, often associated with a hospital or medical school, that is devoted to the diagnosis and care of outpatients.

Complication: A secondary disease, an accident, or a negative reaction occurring during the course of an illness and usually aggravating the illness.

Condition: A disease or physical ailment

Diagnosis: The act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation of patient history, examination, and review of laboratory data.

Disease: A disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

Elective Surgery: A surgery open to choice; optional; not required

Emergency: A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action.

Generic Medicine: Generic drugs are safe, effective, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They have the same dosage, safety, quality, performance, and strength as the brand-name drug. The color or flavor of a generic medicine may be different from the brand-name drug, but the active ingredient is the same. After the patent runs out on a brand-name drug, companies can apply to the FDA to make a generic copy of that drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs because their manufacturers didn't pay for the development costs of the medicine.

Health History: A regularly updated record of a person's past and present health status

Hospital: An institution that provides medical, surgical, or psychiatric care and treatment for the sick or the injured.

Long-Term Care: A variety of services that help meet the medical and non-medical need of people with a chronic illness or disability.

Medical Record: A systematic documentation of a patient's medical history and care.

Medication/Medicine: Any substance or substances used in treating disease or illness.

Nursing Home: A private establishment that provides living quarters and care for the elderly or the chronically ill.

Surgery: A surgical procedure for remedying an injury, ailment, defect, or dysfunction.

Outpatient Surgery: A surgical procedure in which the patient is not required to stay overnight in a hospital.

Pharmacist: A person licensed to prepare and dispense drugs and medicines

Pharmacy: A place where drugs are sold; a drugstore.

Prescription: A direction written by the physician to the pharmacist for the preparation and use of a medicine or remedy.

Privileges: A clinician's right to perform surgery at a particular hospital.

Prognosis: A prediction of the probable course and outcome of a disease.

Recovery: Restoration or return to health from sickness.

Risk: The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger

Side Effect: An effect of a drug, chemical, or other medicine that is in addition to its intended effect, especially an effect that is harmful or unpleasant.

Specialist: A medical practitioner who devotes attention to a particular class of diseases, patients, etc.

Surgery: A surgical surgery or procedure, especially one involving the removal or replacement of a diseased organ or tissue.

Symptom: A sign or an indication of disorder or disease, especially when experienced by an individual as a change from normal function, sensation, or appearance.

Treatment: Administration or application of remedies to a patient or for a disease or injury

AHRQ - Advancing Excellence in Health Care