MVP   Healthgrades Glossary
 

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Medical Diagnosis:
Medical Diagnosis is a hospital rating category unique to the Five-Star Doctor designation. Medical Diagnosis is a collection of conditions that a general practitioner treats including: bowel obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes acidosis and coma, gastrointestinal bleed, heart attack, heart failure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure, sepsis, and stroke.

Medical Genetics:
Medical genetics involves the study of genetics and its applications to medicine. A medical geneticist holds a doctoral degree in genetics (a Ph.D.), and consults with physicians and other medical and dental specialists. The geneticist examines genetic material from blood, tissues or bodily fluids under a microscope, then interprets the test results and passes on the information to doctors and patients regarding genetic problems or issues. Genetic counseling aids those who are concerned with genetic disorders and heredity.

Medical Malpractice:
Medical malpractice is ordinary negligence by a healthcare provider which causes injury. Examples include being improperly diagnosed, treated, medicated or operated upon outside the standard of care.

HealthGrades reports details of malpractice history when a physician has at least one closed medical malpractice claim within the last five years. Because state data varies, the details presented vary. If your physician has a closed malpractice claim in one of the states available to us, it will be listed even if he or she no longer practices in that state. If your physician has malpractice claims in multiple states, evaluate the information for similarities. It is possible for multiple states to report the same claim.

Just because a physician has a settlement or an arbitration award, it does not mean that he or she is a poor-quality physician. Claim settlements may occur for a variety of reasons which should not necessarily reflect negatively on the physician's professional competence or conduct. A settlement payment on a medical malpractice action or claim is not a presumption that medical malpractice has occurred.

A malpractice judgment is a court order for a physician to pay a party a certain amount of money. This official decision by a court may or not be based on a jury verdict; however it is a conclusion that a civil wrong has occurred, typically based upon a preponderance of the evidence presented.

What this means to you.
If your physician has settled a malpractice claim or has a judgment on a malpractice claim, evaluate the information and make a determination. You may want to use this information to start a discussion with the physician.


Medical Malpractice Data:
Medical malpractice is ordinary negligence by a healthcare provider which causes injury. HealthGrades collects malpractice and lawsuit information for the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

HealthGrades reports details of malpractice history when a physician has at least one closed medical malpractice claim within the last five years. Because state data varies, the details presented vary. These states report the following information:

  • California reports judgments and arbitrations since 1991.
  • Connecticut reports judgments and settlements within the last 10 years.
  • Florida reports settlements of $100,000 or greater within the last 10 years.
  • Georgia reports judgments, settlements or arbitrations since April 2001 within the last 10 years meeting one of the following requirements: a) 4 or more settlements; b) 3 settlements with 1 over $100,000; c) 1 or 2 settlements with 1 over $300,000.
  • Idaho reports judgments within the last 10 years; settlements when there are 5 or more settlements of $50,000 or greater within the last 5 years, or when there are 10 or more settlements within the last 5 years.
  • Indiana reports judgments and settlements since 1980.
  • Maryland reports judgments within the last 10 years; and settlements when there are 3 or more settlements of $150,000 or greater within the last 5 years.
  • Massachusetts reports judgments and settlements within the last 10 years.
  • New Jersey reports judgments and settlements within the last 5 years.
  • New York reports judgments within the last 10 years; and settlements when there are 3 or more settlements, or any patient-safety-related settlements within the last 10 years.
  • North Dakota reports settlements since 2002.
  • Oregon reports settlements since 2000.
  • Tennessee reports judgments since 1998; and settlements of $75,000 or greater since 1998.
  • Texas reports 3 or more board-reported malpractice claims within the most recent five-year period. Additionally licensees are required to report all malpractice claims. Malpractice claims reported by the licensee are not verified by the Texas Medical Board.
  • Vermont reports settlements within the last 10 years.
  • Virginia reports judgments and settlements within the last 10 years.
  • West Virginia reports judgments and settlements since 1980.
If your physician has a closed malpractice claim in one of the states available to us, it will be listed here even if he or she no longer practices in that state. If your physician has malpractice claims in multiple states, evaluate the information for similarities. It is possible for multiple states to report the same claim.



Medical Microbiology:
Medical microbiology is the study of biological tissues in a microscope, and how they relate to medical disorders or diseases. A medical microbiologist is a physician who interprets the results of laboratory tests in order to identify viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites - the microbes that cause diseases. These microbes are studied for their risk of causing disease and their effect on the immune system.

Medical School:
The number of years since medical school indicates how long a physician has been practicing medicine since graduation, including residency training and any further training. The length of training varies from specialty to specialty.

What this means to you:
The longer a physician has been practicing, the more likely that he or she is experienced with a wide variety of issues. A more recent graduate, however, may have in-depth knowledge about medical advances for treating a specific condition.


Medical Toxicology:
Medical toxicology is the study of toxic effects of chemicals on living beings. A medical toxicologist studies symptoms, treatments and detection of poisoning. Many substances are toxic only if an excessive amount is ingested, including prescription medication, abused drugs, household toxins, and hazardous materials in the workplace. Drug addiction, chemical poisoning, and abuse of medication require the expertise of a toxicologist.

Molecular Genetic Pathology:
Molecular genetic pathology is the laboratory study of genetic samples of cells, tissues, body fluids, and organs, associated with heredity. A genetic pathologist identifies the causes, processes, and risks of inherited diseases through microscopic study. Laboratory test results of genetic material help to diagnose, confirm, and monitor inherited diseases. The genetic pathologist can provide counseling to patients and their families, with information about their condition and the risk of a genetic disorder in the family.

Laboratory study of tissue and fluid samples can help to 1) diagnose inherited genetic abnormalities and tumor malignancies, 2) monitor genetic changes of patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants, 3) diagnose and monitor viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.