Lay understanding of medical terminology

J Fam Pract. 1983 Aug;17(2):277-9.


One hundred sixty-six adult patients of a community family practice program were questioned about their understanding of the terms hypertension, virus, strep throat, herpes, tumor, Pap smear, and uterus. Significant misconceptions were common among patients of all ages and educational backgrounds, although a positive association of education and knowledge was demonstrated. In using these and similar terms, clinicians must be cautious to ensure that the patient is receiving the intended message.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • United States