Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to search medical terms or words

From Venu's Askribe email newsletter.

How to search medical terms or words ?
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Almost all persons who are  transcribing medical voice files into text, search for medical words or medical terms. Many people use dictionaries related to medical field. There are so many types of dictionaries. I think there are some 10 to 15 dictionaries for searching medical terms and words, but I am not sure.
Is there an alternative to search medical words or terms without first looking into the dictionaries? Now read the below examples.
Example No. 1
I was hearing the voice file and I typed "Altram". After that I searched for the word "Altram" in the medical dictionaries to find if there is any such word. However I could not find the word. After 2 days I found that the correct word was "Ultram". Now if you carefully observe the two words "Altram" and "Ultram", there is only a difference of first letter of the word. The rest of the letters in the word is same. In most cases you can only search for the correct word if you know the correct initial letters of the word. Otherwise it would be difficult to find the words.
Example No.2
After hearing some voice file I typed "Pulse ______97%___ __". At first I could hear only "97%" and after a repeat hearing of the voice file I could hear the word "Pulse". However I knew I was missing more than one word. Now the question is how to find more than one word or pattern of words. Can we search the dictionaries ?
Example No.3
I could only type "Flex_____sig" after hearing a voice file. However at first I typed "Flexsig" and then I typed "Flex Sig". I knew there was something wrong. The question is how will you find the two words correctly? Can you search the dictionaries ? If yes, then which dictionary you will use to search for the correct words ?
Can you answer the above questions? Can you search for the pattern of medical words or terms in dictionaries? Is there an alternative to search medical words or terms without first looking into the dictionaries?
You can search text pattern or words or phrase using tools like grep,awk,sed, etc., . These tools are found in almost all Linux operating systems.
Below are some examples to search medical words and terms.
grep -i  '^[ua]ltram'  mtwords.txt
grep -i  '[ua].*ram'  mtwords.txt
grep -i  '[ua].*am'  mtwords.txt
grep -i  'tram'  mtwords.txt
grep -i  'pulse.*97.* '  mtwords.txt
grep -i  'pulse.*9[012345678 9].*'  mtwords.txt
grep -i  'flex.*sig'  mtwords.txt
grep is a tool which prints lines matching a pattern. And mtwords.txt is a text file which contains all the medical terms or words sequentially. You can create your own mtwords.txt file. Open a text editor and write some medical terms,words or phrase. Below is an example.
------------ Sample of mtwords.txt file-------- ------
Pulse oximetry 97% on room air
Flexible sigmoidoscopy
moderate amount of cerumen
mild cerumen
itchy ears
pharyngitis รข€“ viral
841 Burke Avenue, Bronx
New York 10467
------------ End of mtwords.txt file ------------ -----
After creating the above mtwords.txt file you can use grep to search words,terms, phrase etc.,. Remember the tool grep is a command line tool.
In the above file (mtwords.txt) you can write any medical term or word or names of medicines, medical phrase, names of persons or doctors, names of places etc., You can also update this file easily because it is only a text file. New medical terms or phrase can be added easily to this file.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Almost all Linux operating systems have tools like grep, awk, sed, etc.,These tools are command line tools. There are also different versions of these tools and all these versions have some difference. And again there is also some difference between the format of text file in Linux and Windows operating system. You should have some working knowledge of the operating systems like Linux. You should have some knowledge about regular expressions. And finally you should have some knowledge about the tools like grep, awk, sed etc.,
I will explain with one example on using grep.
grep -i   '^[ua]ltram'   mtwords.txt
In the above example  grep is the command and -i is an option to the grep command and '^[ua]ltram' is a regular expression (also called search pattern) and mtwords.txt is the text file which contains all the medical words, terms or phrase. Here we are searching the mtwords.txt file to find if there is any word which begins with ultram or Ultram or altram or Altram. Since there is no word such as altram, only ultram or Ultram will be displayed on the screen. See the above examples on grep. You can search for the word Ultram in any manner. If you can guess some letters or characters in a word or phrase or medical term correctly, then you can search for the correct word.

This article is written by V.Venkateswara Rao e-mail and yahoo chat ID is venkatesh3004 @

I had placed a query along similar lines, on the net(askribe) several days back. Well, I found the above article(s)  enlightening.
I would like to  modify my query(of last) somewhat, in that, firstly, I am working on a Windows Platform(XP), not Linux.  Secondly, when it comes to the technical part(Line editor) and so on, I am a novice. Though, I do have some general idea on the topic.
Since there are a lot of  E-packages( Medical Dictionaries on Tehnical phrases, medicine, etc.,) on the net, and that too freely downloadable, I would be grateful if you could suggest any proven package that would suffice my requirements.
Thanking You,
My address: