What the heck is a glossary of medical terms?

When I acquired the Medical Transcription Desk (MT Desk), Elsevier sent me all the site files to do with as I wished. It appeared to me that nothing had been updated since they acquired the site five years previously, so I wasn't quite sure what I ought to do with some of that stuff.

MT Desk had a stellar reputation for carefully researching everything that went on that site. It was what made the site so special. It was reliable and authoritative.

But now I was looking at information I knew was at least five years out of date. Add the four years I've struggled with the answer to the question (has it been that long?), and it's only complicated the dilemma.

Well, most of the word lists were pretty easy. Some of that information never goes out of date. They will, of course, need to be updated but I felt the lists themselves were at least marginally useful.

Then there was the massive list of medical equipment manufacturers. I struggled to update that one, then found myself asking – is this something medical transcriptionists really need or use? (Drop me a line if you think it is, but I suspect I won't hear from many of you.) Those companies go out of business and merge faster than I could track. I put it on the back-burner, as in if I ever get MT Desk completely done the way I think it ought to be done, I'll look at that again. In other words, unless there's a major clamor for it, it won't get done.

But when it came to the massive medical glossary that made up one of the most accessed pages at MT Desk, I was a bit flummoxed. This monster is a whopping 589 pages in Microsoft Word, a total of 221,000 words. Just for reference, kind of like a ruler placed next to an object for reference, in today's fiction writing market, a 100,000 word novel is considered lengthy. The MT Desk glossary was the equivalent of two very lengthy novels. It was also not in any kind of format I could easily translate into the new MT Desk wiki, even if I felt the information in it was still current enough to be relevant.

And what the heck is a glossary, anyway? I actually like the Wikipedia definition of a glossary (while being amused at the synonym, itioticon).

[quote style=”boxed”]Traditionally, a glossary appears at the end of a book and includes terms within that book which are either newly introduced, uncommon or specialized.[/quote]

The medical glossary at the Medical Transcription Desk (MT Desk) site isn't quite the same, in that it doesn't list terms from the site itself, but terms for medical transcriptionists.

I think rebuilding the medical glossary at MT Desk is going to be fun and informative (for me) and probably the most valuable tool for medical transcriptionists once the terms in the glossary reach a certain level. I'm looking forward to the challenge building the glossary presents, as well as the best and most useful way to make it available. Who knows? Maybe one day there will be an iPhone app for MT Desk!

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4 thoughts on “What the heck is a glossary of medical terms?”

  1. The glossary at MT Desk was very much useful before the year 2000, especially the surgical instruments and terms. With the advent of Google, nothing comes in between. You ask anything, you get it; except a new birth for yourself! Call it God, savior?

    And your effort of rebuilding the medical glossary, will it be worth the time spent?

    1. Thanks for your comments, Raj.

      The problem with using Google is the accuracy of what you find. I was looking up something yesterday and every result in the search had the term wrong.

      The word lists and the medical glossary at MT Desk are extensively researched – and not with a Google search. 🙂 I believe the effort is worth the time spent IF medical transcriptionists find the result useful. In order for it to be useful, it has to be reliable.

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