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Appl Clin Inform. 2012 Sep 19;3(3):349-55. doi: 10.4338/ACI-2012-05-CR-0019. Print 2012.

Case report medical eponyms: an applied clinical informatics opportunity.

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Department of Information Systems, The MetroHealth System and School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH, USA.


Medical eponyms are medical words derived from people's names. Eponyms, especially similar sounding eponyms, may be confusing to people trying to use them because the terms themselves do not contain physiologically descriptive words about the condition they refer to. Through the use of electronic health records (EHRs), embedded applied clinical informatics tools including synonyms and pick lists that include physiologically descriptive terms associated with any eponym appearing in the EHR can significantly enhance the correct use of medical eponyms. Here we describe a case example of two similar sounding medical eponyms--Wegener's disease and Wegner's disease-- which were confused in our EHR. We describe our solution to address this specific example and our suggestions and accomplishments developing more generalized approaches to dealing with medical eponyms in EHRs. Integrating brief physiologically descriptive terms with medical eponyms provides an applied clinical informatics opportunity to improve patient care.


Medical eponyms; electronic health records; integrated clinical decision support; patient safety; system improvement

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