• HLTCOM408B - Use specific health terminology to communicate effectively

Use specific health terminology to communicate effectively

This unit covers the skills required to understand and respond to instructions, carry out routine tasks and communicate with a range of internal and external clients in a health care practice, using appropriate practice-specific health terminology.


This unit applies to work in a range of health settings

It has been derived from unit BSBMED301A Use advanced medical terminology to apply across a range of health industry sectors, including medical and non-medical settings

Application of this unit should be contextualised to reflect specific terminology and usage requirements to address workplace requirements, issues and practices

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria


Respond appropriately to instructions containing health terminology


Receive, understand and document written and oral instructions using practice-specific health terminology


Use checklists containing health terminology where appropriate


Recognise and interpret abbreviations for practice-specific terms and associated processes


Understand and adhere to policies, procedures and guidelines of specific health workplace


Seek clarification of instructions when necessary


Carry out routine tasks


Use practice-specific health terminology correctly in the completion of routine tasks


Seek assistance from designated person/s as required


Use appropriate health terminology in oral and written communication


Use appropriate practice-specific health terminology as directed in oral and written communication with clients, fellow workers and health professionals


Present written communication to a designated person for verification of terminology if required


Correctly spell and pronounce practice-specific health terminology


Seek advice from designated person as required to clarify correct use and meaning of practice-specific health terms and associated processes

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

Relevant workplace guidelines

Relevant practice-specific health terminology

Relevant local/state/federal legislation

Own and others' responsibilities

Appropriate forms and recording requirements

Appropriate external agencies

Appropriate information sources

Essential skills:

Ability to:

Use and understand abbreviations for practice-specific health terms and associated processes

Correctly spell and pronounce practice-specific health terminology

Communicate in a professional manner using appropriate communication strategies

Maintain confidentiality, security and privacy of information

Carry out activities and actions within local, state and federal legislation

Follow instructions, including routine oral and written sequenced instructions

Ensure activities are well organised, executed in a timely fashion and any documents prepared or obtained are filed appropriately

Ensure all written communication is self-checked for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and missing words and presented to designated person for approval if required

Use literacy skills, including:

follow procedures, policies, signs and instructions

use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation

Use language skills, including:

relay information

use appropriate and correct practice-specific health terminology

use correct pronunciation and sentence structures

question to clarify terms and context

Apply interpersonal skills to interact with clients and others in an appropriate manner

Apply basic research skills to increase own knowledge of practice-specific health terminology

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit:

This unit is most appropriately assessed in a classroom environment

Assessment may contain theoretical emphasis and examples covering a range of workplace situations in relation to a specific sector of the health industry

Assessment of sole practitioners must include a range of clinical situations and different client groups covering at minimum, age, culture and gender

Assessment of sole practitioners must consider their unique workplace context, including:

Interaction with others in the broader professional community as part of the sole practitioner's workplace

Scope of practice as detailed in the qualification and component competency units

Holistic/integrated assessment including:

working within the practice framework

performing a health assessment

assessing the client

planning treatment

providing treatment

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Practice-specific health terminology may include standard terms and abbreviations relating to:

Practice-specific language and nomenclature

Case taking



Health conditions and disease processes

Health investigations and procedures

Practice equipment and instruments

Departments/sections in a hospital

Other health care specialties

Health insurance



Written and oral instructions may include:



Instructions for post-treatment care

Client notes

Routine reports

Test results


OHS signs and instructions

Diary entries

Telephone calls

Oral instructions

Routine tasks may include:

Entering client details into computer system

Filing client notes

Maintaining client information

Receiving and making telephone calls

Word processing

Processing correspondence

Maintaining information to assist clients and practitioner(s)

Ordering stock (e.g. stationery, medical supplies)

Recording information

Preparing reports

Answering client enquiries

Producing a range of documents, as required

Oral communication may include:

Verbal instructions

Confirming appointments

Answering routine telephone enquiries

Communicating with a range of health care professionals on client related matters

Written communication may include:





Correspondence to a range of health care professionals on client related matters

Client history questionnaires

Client records

Appointment diaries, cards

Telephone messages

Client histories

Case reports

Clinic guidelines may include:

Telephone protocol

Correspondence format

Office practice manual


Emergency procedures

Security, confidentiality and privacy procedures

Recording information

Cleanliness and hygiene

Accessing and updating files

Information specific to the practice

Comply with local, state and federal legislation


Clarification may be sought from:

Dictionary of medical and/or other health care terminology

Drug and prescription information sources/databases

Practice specific texts

Clinic guidelines

Relevant handbook

Designated person/s


Employability Skills

The required outcomes described in this unit of competency contain applicable facets of Employability Skills

The Employability Skills Summary of the qualification in which this unit of competency is packaged will assist in identifying Employability Skill requirements