Any time you come back home after a visit to the hospital, your head undoubtedly buzzes with strange medical terms that you have heard getting thrown about – terms like Endometrial or Creatinine or Arthroscopy. It could be that your doctor is particularly insensitive about having his patients understand what he’s saying, or, you could really not have a head for these things. Either way, hearing these buzzwords in connection with your health can make you quite nervous. Unfortunately, there is nothing in their contract that obligates doctors to educate you or any other patient. Which is where the online medical dictionary comes in. Of course, when there’s something about your condition that you don’t really understand, going directly to the source, to your physician should be your first choice. Even if you do decide to do that, you’ll find that reading up beforehand is always the better idea. The Internet just crawls with dozens of medical reference places. And some of them even have a dedicated medical dictionary. Let’s look at a selection of these to help you out the next time you come back from the doctor’s your head stuffed with strange words.
First off, let’s go with a name that’s synonymous with good dictionaries in America: Merriam-Webster. They have a dedicated medical dictionary website that that they run with the National Institutes of Health. It’s called MedlinePlus. You can either search for a condition you’re looking for, a medical term you are looking for, or merely look for ideas, browsing their lists of words. They even have a page full of medical abbreviations.
As for medical abbreviations, if you don’t find the one you’re looking for on the MedlinePlus website, you should probably try the MediLexicon – an exhaustive collection of abbreviations to do with medical conditions, medical equipment, medical journals and ICD-9 codes. It’s an extraordinarily well-endowed database with a quarter-million entries. The website has an agreement in place with Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, and it has a great fuzzy logic algorithm that tries to help you with the term you’re looking for even if you can’t really remember it.
The King’s Medical Library Engine is a one-stop medical term site. It’s a one-stop place because it goes meta searching for something you want. It searches many of the websites above and more, for every kind of medical term. Even better, it lets you search for medical articles, medical journals and online information. It should be pretty comprehensive, the search they perform – considering that it is Google’s algorithm that they use.