MVP   Healthgrades Glossary

Please select a letter to view glossary terms that begin with that letter.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V  
Family Practice:
Family practice is the branch of medicine concerning the total health care of the person and the family. A family practice physician can have a varied and extensive medical background, including internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and geriatrics. A family physician has the skills and knowledge to provide care and health maintenance education for all ages. This physician is trained to diagnose and treat each member of the family, no matter what the problem.

Fellowship training is graduate physician education completed after residency training. It focuses on a specific medical or surgical subspecialty (thoracic surgery, for example), and takes place in accredited hospitals or other healthcare facilities under experienced physician supervision. Fellowship training is required for subspecialty board certification.

Fellowship training is further training concentrating in a subspecialty based on the physician's original specialty. For instance, after completing a residency in Pediatrics, a physician may choose to complete a fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology. To become board certified in a subspecialty, a physician must complete fellowship training.

What this means to you:
Fellowship training is not a necessity to practice medicine, or a particular specialty, but demonstrates that the physician trained extensively in the specialty. If you are seeking a highly qualified physician in a specific specialty, such as Pediatric Cardiology, fellowship training is a desirable qualification.

Fertility & Reproductive Endocrinology:
Fertility and reproductive endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system in patients and how it relates to fertility and the reproductive system. A fertility and reproductive endocrinologist can be an obstetrician, a gynecologist, a pediatrician or an oncologist, and treats women who want to conceive. This physician specializes in reproductive medicine, diagnoses hormonal conditions, and treats infertility in order to increase a woman's chances of becoming pregnant.

Fetal Medicine and Maternal Medicine:
Fetal medicine and maternal medicine deal with women patients who have complications of pregnancy. An obstetrician/gynecologist treats women with high-risk or complicated pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy, where the mother and fetus need special monitoring and medical care, may be a result of the mother's diabetes, high blood pressure, or a seizure disorder. The fetus may have genetic disorders, or other problems that affect its development.

Sometimes if a woman is pregnant with twins or triplets or more, she may have additional health problems, or she may have a history of pregnancy complications. The obstetrician/gynecologist has special knowledge and skills to deal with these health problems and work with the mother toward the safe delivery of a healthy baby.

Five-Star Doctor:
To help consumers evaluate and compare physicians, HealthGrades analyzed objective physician data to identify leading physicians in 23 specialties across the country. HealthGrades Five-Star Doctors:

  • Are affiliated with a hospital that is highly rated by HealthGrades in the clinical area related to the physician's specialty;
  • Are board certified in the specialty they practice;
  • Have never had their license restricted or revoked;
  • Are free of state or federal disciplinary actions for the last five years; and
  • Are free of malpractice claims for the last five years.
Quarterly updates are made to the Five-Star Doctor list based on new sanction, board certification, and malpractice data. For example, a newly sanctioned physician will be removed from the Five-Star Doctor list immediately.
What this means to you:
Receiving quality healthcare can help you more effectively manage a condition and recover more quickly when you are ill. By pairing a high quality hospital with a high quality physician, you can be assured of high quality care.

Foreign Languages:
Foreign languages are languages this physician can speak in addition to English.

What this means to you:
If you or a family member, speak English as a second language, it might be favorable to find a physician that speaks your native language.

Medical issues and healthcare can be complicated to discuss, and it may put you more at ease to be able to speak and describe issues to the physician in a language you are comfortable with. Good communication between physician and patient is essential to quality healthcare.

Forensic Pathology:
Forensic pathology is the study of evidence from an unexpected or suspicious cause of death. A forensic pathologist uses medical knowledge applied to legal problems to investigate and evaluate causes of death. The forensic pathologist can also act as the coroner or medical examiner, or can perform a medical and legal autopsy for those officials.

Forensic Psychiatry:
Forensic psychiatry uses the legal aspect of psychiatry to aid in court cases. Expert psychiatric testimony influences legal verdicts and judgments. A forensic psychiatrist evaluates individuals involved in court cases, plays an important part in custody suits, and provides treatment to incarcerated patients. He or she can determine competency in criminal cases, in legal business procedures (such as contracts or investments), and give assistance in harassment and discrimination cases.