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We have a medical application that a doctor would uses to track a current ailment and its healing progress.

For example, when a patient visits a doctor about swelling in their ankle, the doctor would use one of our drawing tools to draw "swelling" on an image (on a tablet device) of a patient's ankle indicating there is swelling in the ankle.

When the patient comes back the following week or month, the doctor can mark up the drawing with other tools, such as "healed" or "inflamed", depending upon the type of ailment it is.

One of the tools we are developing is a generic "nothing changed" tool. For reporting purposes, the doctor needs to use this tool to click on the ailment to confirm that the ailment is still there and that nothing has changed. I don't know what to call this tool. At present, it's called the "Nothing Changed" tool, but that's just not a great sounding tool.

What word in this context could be used to describe "nothing changed"?

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@WillHunting "no change" would be the same issue. When printing clinical letters for the practices, the verbiage is usually stated "and no changes occurred in the swelling in the ankle", but for the selected drawing tool, calling it "no change" or "nothing changed" just looks like an odd tool name. –  LarsTech Feb 6 '12 at 20:33
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In online articles on medical terms for the legal profession, "condition unchanged" has come up a couple of times as typical of what a doctor would write in this situation. –  MετάEd Feb 7 '12 at 17:41

8 Answers 8

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'd first check if doctors have an accepted term for this. You want to use the established terminology of the subject area before you invent new terms. To use an example from another field, if I was writing a program to help editors mark up text, and I wanted to create a tool to allow an editor to say that another editor's mark-up should be ignored, I wouldn't call it "ignore" or "leave it alone", I'd call it "stet", because that's what editors call it.

I don't claim to know medical terminology, but just from what I've picked up casually, "stable" or "unresponsive" might be appropriate terms.

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Thanks, Jay. This is the first thing that came to my mind too, and you saved me writing the same thing. I would add that there may be some systemic reason why it doesn't "sound great"; i.e, doctors may not see a need for a special tool to indicate Zero, when they can get the same implication by marking only changed items. In other words, there should be doctors testing all this constantly and offering criticisms. "Make it run right before you make it run fast", as Kernighan and Plauger put it. –  John Lawler Feb 6 '12 at 18:17
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RE marking only changed items: Maybe, it depends. Sometimes it's good to have a way to explicitly say "no change", so that other users (or yourself, coming back later) can distinguish "no change" from "Haven't checked this one yet" or "I forgot to enter it into the computer". –  Jay Feb 6 '12 at 18:35
    
True. Again, it's something the users should have a say on. Especially doctors. Doctors like redundancy. But they're also always in a hurry. –  John Lawler Feb 6 '12 at 18:39
    
@Will: True. Insert "I am not a doctor" disclaimer here. I think "stable' means "he's stopped getting worse" while "unresponsive" means "he's not getting better. Reminds me of the line, "The operation was a success, but the patient died." –  Jay Feb 6 '12 at 20:32

"Static" (or "statis") was the first word that came to my mind

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I recommend unchanged, unless the doctors would prefer MetaEd's status quo ante (abbreviated SQA), in keeping with the opaque terminology they employ in their "scrips" (< prescriptions), their speech to each other, and sometimes even in their conversations with uncomprehending patients.

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status quo ante or status quo are both clinically acceptable

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I'd describe such a situation as stationary.

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How about Status Quo. It means a situation where nothing has changed and being latin it will appeal to doctors.

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By that logic, labeling all the buttons in Latin would get doctors so excited about the application that they would need a smoke. Rather, as Jay says, the label should in fact borrow from present terminology. –  MετάEd Feb 7 '12 at 0:26
    
How about by the logic that the term I suggested actually fits the definition requested by the OP and is commonly understood without resorting to anyone's jargon? While Jay's advice to ask the users what they might call it is good, that doesn't technically answer OP's question. –  Joel Brown Feb 7 '12 at 4:09
    
I agree that a generally known term would be fine, especially if there is no specific medical term. I also agree that the OP says he needs a label which means "nothing has changed", or same now as in the past. But I disagree with you here: status quo does not mean this. It means "the way things are". The related phrase status quo ante means "the way things were before". Technically, you would arrive at the meaning the OP wants with the label "status quo = status quo ante". (I say this just to illustrate the meaning; I am not seriously proposing that as a label.) –  MετάEd Feb 7 '12 at 17:17
    
"Status quo EST status quo ante." An equal sign is not valid Latin. –  Jay Jul 7 at 15:01

This may not be an answer as such. I would suggest "Checked."

This term will serve at least two purposes. To record that the specific instance has been checked, eliminating the possibility of the physician 'forgetting' to record. Since no other specific remark is made, it also confirms that no change was detected (if there was any change, the corresponding marking would have been made).

That leaves out only one issue to be handled, though. In case there is indeed a change detected and there's no tool provided to identify it on the diagram, ah well, you'd not know what to do -- can't even use "Checked." then.

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The adjective consistent is used to describe something which remains the same, is unchanged over a period of time. The noun consistency is often used to describe stability or constancy. You may want to consider naming the tool the constancy tool or the consistency tool, for brevity and accuracy.

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