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Having earned a degree in nursing, I have found it easy to understand the jargon of the medical field. Apparently, not all newbie virtual medical assistants are nurses, and in the outsourcing business, there are terminologies that require effort to learn so as not to be confused when these are added to medical terms. Working as a professional nurse in a healthcare institution is a totally different atmosphere from the online world.

Almost a month ago, I began to work as a VMA. I was in awe with the things bombarded at me. I needed to familiarize myself with all the applications, programs, and sites related to work. I needed speed and accuracy in data encoding. These have become challenging for me although I have done similar things when I was still working at a hospital.

The first task assigned to me was to make in-depth clinical summaries of clients’ treatment procedures and medications. I had come across terms which I found unconventional and unique in the medical websites I have used. If one has not been immersed in the medical field, one would most likely get lost along the process.

So, having the feel of being a VMA, I would like to share with you essential terms which I believe are needed to be learned and fully understood.

Here are some of the must-know medical terminologies, phrases, and expressions which are commonly encountered in medical websites:

  1. Clinical Summary. A clinical summary is a brief abstract of a client’s medical records. This is a written review of his/her medical status and condition. There are different formats on how to make a clinical summary; it depends on the currently used site. It is an edge to practice making summaries from a range of medical records through familiarization of one’s self in the making of good summaries as well as prioritizing sites and summaries that have to be done first.
  2. Claimant. The person applying for a health insurance coverage for the injury he/she sustained.  
  3. Injury. The nature of how the body was damaged due to accidents, falls, hits, weapons and other causes. This is where the primary provider focuses his methods of treatment, whether through procedures or medications.
  4. Disability. The effect of the injury on the claimant’s well-being – physical or otherwise – resulting to restriction from participating in normal activities of daily life or being permanently damaged thus incapacitated in the performance of any activity.
  5. Peer to peer review. Done via phone calls, the medical review entails the relaying of information by the assistant who contacts a doctor’s clinic. This review has to be submitted before the due date of the reviewing doctor who, when done, calls the doctor who needs the review on a specified date and time.
  6. Complaints. These are the chief reasons why a client seeks medical help. Either recurrent or new, these are usually the physical signs and symptoms felt by the client.
  7. Assessment findings. These cover the physical and clinical examinations observed in a client on a specific date of visit. Systems review and diagnostic examinations like MRI, X-rays, and other laboratory tests are included under these.
  8. Diagnosis. This is the medical condition addressed by the primary providers based on the physical and clinical examination findings. Categorization is based on ICD 10, a universally-used coding system of classifying medical diagnoses and surgical or procedural treatments.
  9. Treatment plan. Written and enumerated on this plan are possible and potential treatments and medications which can help solve existing medical problems.
  10. Teleconference (TC). A call between two parties, whether assistant to assistant or doctor to doctor, this discusses details and information pertaining to the client. Often recorded, the call usually has the detailed message, the call back information, and the reviewing doctor’s answer – either approved or denied.

Being a VMA entails a lot of training and practice to master tasks and become aware of common terms related to work. Learning how the system works may begin with baby steps at first. This industry’s impending growth is definite in reaching goals and will eventually attract curious professionals to try getting involved in the business. Young medical professionals venturing into a new business may be a VMA. Although in a different milieu, they can still practice their profession.



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