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GIORGIA DE ZEN

GIORGIA DE ZEN

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© 2023 Giorgia De Zen |  CONFERENCE INTERPRETER & TRANSLATOR

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PMH and HPI

22-11-2023 15:27

Giorgia De Zen

Translatio, Interpreting, Medical translation, Medical reports, Dialogue interpreting, Liaison and healthcare interpreting, healthcareinterpreting, medicaltranslation, medicalhistory, medicalterms, englishmedicaltranslator, italianmedicaltranslator,

PMH and HPI

What are PMH and HPI? Read the article to understand what they are and why translating them correctly is pivotal.

For a one reason or another, you have certainly needed to consult a specialist physician, in other words a doctor different than your primary care provider who is specialized in a certain medical field.

As you may have noticed, every visit, even if it takes place with a different pysician, follows the same pattern more or less. It happens because the doctor-patient encounter can be divided into six phases, as proposed by Byrne e Long (1976:3):

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  1. Opening small talk
  2. Medical history
  3. Physical examination
  4. Diagnosis
  5. Communication of therapy and/or prescription of medications
  6. Conclusion

When I work as healthcare (liaison) interpreter, I sit by the doctor during the evaluation. Once the small talk is over, almost certainly it is time for phase two, namely the medical history. The beginning of phase two would go unnoticed except for the physician who starts asking questions to the patient regarding their PMH or HPI, which is why I must be ready.

What are PMH and HPI?

During this phase, the physician collects the patient's medical history, in other words he/she gathers information on the patient's health condition to understand the clinical picture. 

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There are several types of medical history, let's have a look at the main ones.

  • Past Medical History: the physician takes notes about any major diseases, traumas and surgical procedures that the patient has had over the course of his/her life.
  • History of Present Illness: it is about the current reason that has led the patient to seek medical advice at present, so the more details are provided, the better. The patient will talk about his/her symptoms, like painful parts of their bodies, how long they've had these symptoms for, if there have been triggering events, etc.
  • Family History: the physician asks whether the closest members of the patient's family (usually their parents and siblings) have suffered any significant diseases, or have had major traumas or surgeries. This is important because having a positive family history for certain diseases could mean the patient is more likely to develop them. For example, if one of the parents died young due to a heart attack. the cardiologist will pay special attention to the patient's risk factors of hypertension.
  • Personal Health (or Social) History: it is a little different than the previous ones becuse it investigates the patient's habbits and life style. For example, where they live, their occupation, their diet and sports habbits to see if there might be any correlation with the presented symptoms.
     

How should you translate the medical terms PMI and HPI in Italian?

It is important that the report translation is entrusted to a translator specialized in the medical field as it cannot be improvised. The following medical terms are very specific as well as their translations, let's have a look together:

  • Past Medical History becomes ANAMNESI PATOLOGICA REMOTA in Italian, so not “passata” or “precedente”. 
  • Whereas History of Present Illness becomes ANAMNESI PATOLOGICA PROSSIMA, with a different structure more similar to the APR's. 
  • As regards the Family history, very often it is translated as ANAMNESI FAMILIARE o simply "FAMILIARITA' PER…" followed by the name of the disease.
  • Personal Health History is usually translated with ANAMNESI FISIOLOGICA.
     

In the same way, if the medical-healthcare interpreter knows the phases of a patient-physician encounter, he/she won't be taken by surprise when the patient starts listing diseases, allergies, surgeries, medications taken, symptoms, and family history.
 

Short and accurate acronyms

In medical report, rather than the extended term, it is common to find the acronyms APR and APP. Which is why it is important to know their meaning, expecially when performing a medical translation.

Did you know them? Let me know in the comments.

Please, share my article if you've found it useful!

Do you need a medical translation? Do you have a report and need a translation in Italian or English? Please, send me a message with your request.

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Hi, I'm Giorgia!

I am a conference interpreter and professional translator.


I work with Italian, English, Spanish and Dutch.


I am specialised in medicine and healthcare, jewelry and music therapy.

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    Do you need an interpreter or a translator?

    GIORGIA DE ZEN

    Don't worry, just write me and we'll figure it out together.

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