Welcome to the Glossary of Terms
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ADL - Activities of Daily Living
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) – A stimulus plan designed to help the United States recover from the current economic downturn. The bill was signed into law on February 17, 2009 by President Obama. Worth over $787 billion, the bill offers over $147.7 billion dollars towards health care. With $19 billion dollars going towards assisting practices with the transformation from paper practice management systems and digital EHR implemented clinics.
Application Service Provider (ASP) – A service provider who supplies on-demand software to a company. By multiple companies “sharing” the software through the ASP, the price of the software is greatly reduced. It is also common for the ASP to deal with the issues of upgrading 24-7 technical support and security for its software.
ARRA – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
ASP – Application Service Provider
Audit – An examination of the records or financial reports of a company to verify accuracy and eliminate fraud.
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Bandwidth – A form of measurement used to calculate the amount of data that can be sent along a communication channel at a specific given time. This is often used to determine the speed of an internet connection.
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CAM – Complementary Alternative Medicine
CCE – Council on Chiropractic Education
CCHIT – Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – A federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which is in charge of the Medicare program. This center is also in charge of administrative simplification standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This program used to be known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).
Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) – A certification authority found in the United States for electronic health records (EHR) and their networks. It was designed to ensure interoperability between Health Information Technologies (HIT) and to help protect physicians and other providers.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – Helps to support practitioners in their healthcare needs. These individuals often help with patients in their activities of daily living (ADLs) and provide basic bedside care. Alternative names include: Patient Care Assistant (PCA), State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) or Nursing Assistant-Registered (NA/R).
CHI – Consolidated Health Informatics Initiative
Chiropractic Assistant (CA) – These individuals perform a wide array of duties in order to assist their chiropractors. Alternative names include: Administrative Support Personnel, Health Care Assistant and Medical Assistant.
Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT) – The use of physical manipulation of the body in order to promote the health and well-being of a patient.
Clearinghouse – A clearinghouse is a company which provides services between two different parties and acts as a central resource for information. Typically, in health care, a clearinghouse acts as the go-between for the physician and the billing party. Physicians often send their billing claims to a clearinghouse who then translates each claim into the specific format required by the third-party payer.
Client – A customer or patron. If in relation to computers, a client is a system which accesses information from other computers or networks.
Client-Server Network – The relationship between a client computer and a server in which the client computer sends a request to the server for information and the server receives the request and locates the information. Then the server sends this information back, and the client computer receives it. This is the typical set-up of a network.
Clinical Practice Guidelines – A document created in order to guide decisions and criteria regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in an area of healthcare. Alternative Names: Medical Guidelines, Clinical Guidelines, or Clinical Protocol.
Clinical Protocol – See Clinical Practice Guidelines
CMS – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
CMT – Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy
CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Nursing Aide
Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) – All practices and ideas which are designed to prevent or treat an illness and promote well-being. These are traditionally practices that lie outside conventional medical practices.
Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) – A process when a physician uses an electronic device in order to input instructions for a patient’s treatment. These instructions are communicated over a network to the various other departments. These departments are then in charge of carrying out this treatment plan, such as filling a prescription order. CPOE greatly helps to increase the speed of filling a prescription and reduce the frequency of errors.
Computerized Prescriber Order Entry (CPOE) – See Computerized Physician Order Entry.
Consolidated Health Informatics Initiative (CHI) – Designed to increase interoperability between different health care professionals to improve patient care and health outcomes.
Council on Chiropractic Education – An agency in the United States which sets the accreditation standards for those programs and institutions offering the degree of: Doctor of Chiropractic.
CPOE – Computerized Physician Order Entry or Computerized Prescriber Order Entry
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Data Conversion – Often referred during the transformation of a paper-based clinic into a digital clinic. Old paper documents are scanned into the computer system so as to be accessible from the electronic health care software system.
DC – Doctor of Chiropractic
DCM – Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
DHHS – Department of Health & Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS or HHS) – The governmental agency in the United States which is in charge of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
Desktop Computer – A personal computer which is intended to be used at only one location and normally is not portable. It is typically just big enough to fix on the top of a desk.
Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) – An individual who has achieved an academic degree in chiropractic. This individual is generally referred as a primary health care provider and therefore a patient does not need a referral in order to seek out their treatment. Alternative Name: Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.
Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (DCM) – see Doctor of Chiropractic.
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EDI – Electronic Data Interchange
EHR – Electronic Health Records
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – The communication of information from one company to another. This communication occurs only between two electronic devices, typically computers, and is directly imported into the receiving computer. Typical information transmitted would be orders, confirmations or some other form of business transition.
Electronic Health Records (EHR) – A patient’s medical record transformed into a digital format. These electronic health records are stored and retrieved via a the use of a computer or other similar device. These digital charts typically reduce medical errors and increase the overall efficiency of a clinic. They can include a large variety of different types of information such as digital x-rays and basic chart information.
Electronic Media – Media which uses some form of electronics in order to allow the user to access the information. Some examples might include: Radios, CD-ROMs, DVD, etc.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) – See Electronic Health Records (EHR).
Electronic Prescription (ePrescription or ERX) – The electronic transfer of medical prescriptions directly from the doctor to the pharmacy. This offers a much faster, convenient, legible solution to previous paper and pen methods of writing prescriptions.
EMR – Electronic Medical Records
Encryption – The process of taking data and converting it using a secret algorithm in order to make it unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient. Once the encrypted data arrives at its destination then it is decrypted and converted back into the original data. This process protects confidential or private information from be intercepted or read by anyone other than the intended party.
ePatients – Internet-savvy patients who utilizes the internet to gain information about a particular ailment. These individuals are growing more common in today’s health care system.
EPHI – Electronic Private Health Information
EPO – Exclusive Provider Organization
ePrescribing – See Electronic Prescription.
ERX – Electronic Prescription or Electronic Prescribing
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – A combination of the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). With an EPO the employers agree not to contract with any other plan.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) – The practice of using conscientious, judicious use of scientific evidence in order to provide the best treatment option available to the patient.
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FCLB – Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards
FDA – Food and Drug Administration
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) – The umbrella organization in charge of maintaining high, uniform standards in the area of chiropractic licensure, regulation, discipline and education.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) – A United States Department of Health and Human Services agency in charge of regulating and supervising the safety of food, dietary supplements, drugs, vaccines, biological medical products, blood products, medical devices, radiation-emitting devices, veterinary products, and cosmetics.
HCFA – Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). Now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS).
Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) – Now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Health Information Exchange (HIE) – The ability to electronically move clinical information from one health care clinic to another different type of clinic within a region or community. The idea behind HIE is to allow fast, effective patient-centered care.
Health Information Technology (HIT) – The all-encompassing idea of transferring electronic health information securely between consumers, providers, government, quality entities, and insurers. This is currently the best solution to improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of our current health care system. An example of HIT would be electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR).
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) – Title I of HIPAA protects workers and their families who either change or loose their jobs from also loosing their health insurance coverage. Title II of HIPAA deals with the security requirements of electronically transferring health care information in order to keep this confidential information protected and private.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – A type of health care coverage program of the United States which provides health care coverage to individuals through hospitals, doctors and other providers determined by the HMO.
HHS – Department of Health and Human Services
HIE – Health Information Exchange
HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
HIT – Health Information Technology
HMO – Health Maintenance Organization
Information System Technician (IT) – A person who specializes in maintaining communications and computer systems. They often assist in the troubleshooting and setup of software, electronic or hardware devices.
Installation – The act of taking a specific device and setting it up in order to prepare for its use.
Integrate – To unite all the parts of something together into a complete whole.
Interface – The point of communication between two different devices. This can be commonly found in either a Network Interface (between two electronic devices) or a User Interface (between a user and an electronic device). An example of an interface would be between a computer and a printer.
Interoperability – The ability for a variety of different devices or software to communicate and exchange information.
IT – Information System Technician or Information Technician
Laptop Computer – Originally these devices were design for the military. However their extreme versatility has led them to be adopted throughout businesses and households around the world. Laptops offer the same components of a traditional desktop computer, but their smaller, lighter size allows for greater portability. Typically laptops are also equipped with a battery and AC adapter (charger) to allow for even better mobility.
Local Area Network (LAN) – A network which collects a group of devices together in a relatively small area, such as an office or a school. Typically all of these devices are owned and managed by a single person or organization. These devices can only communicate with each other and not with any devices outside the network.
Managed Care Organization (MCO) – An organization which provides a variety of techniques intended to reduce the cost of providing health benefits and improve the quality of patient care. Examples would include: HMOs, PPOs, POSs, EPOs, etc.
MCO – Managed Care Organization
MD – Medical Doctor
Medical Doctor (MD) – An individual who has obtained a doctoral degree for physicians granted by an accredited medical school. This degree is typically obtained after completing four years undergraduate degree and then four years at a medical school.
Medical Guidelines – See Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Modalities – A type of therapeutic method which involves the physical treatment of an ailment.
Notebook – See Laptop Computer.
Nursing Assistant-Registered (NA/R) – See Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Office of National Coordination for Health Information Technology (ONC, formally ONCHIT) – An organization located within the Office of the Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. ONC is in charge of coordinating national efforts to successfully implement electronic health information exchanges throughout our health care system.
OIG – Office of Inspector General
ONC – Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Formally known as ONCHIT.
ONCHIT – Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Now known as ONC.
Operating System (OS) – The part of the computer that relays information from an application to the actual hardware of the computer.
OS – Operating System
Participating Provider Organization (PPO) – See Preferred Provider Organization.
Password – Typically a secret phrase or word which allows someone access to a restricted area. A good password will be over eight characters long and include numbers, letters and symbols.
Patient Information (PI) – All relevant documentation and records pertaining to a certain patient.
PC – Personal Computer
PCA – Personal Care Assistant
PDA – Personal Digital Assistant
Personal Care Assistant (PCA) – See Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Personal Computer (PC) – A computer used for personal use. Common forms of computers are desktops, laptops or tablets.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) – A handheld computer. Newer versions of PDAs include a color screen. Others can also be used as mobile phones, web browsers or portable media players. Most PDAs can access the internet and utilize touch screen or stylus capabilities.
Phishing – The criminal act of attempting to illegally gain access to private or confidential information through acquiring usernames, passwords, or credit card details. Another common means of obtaining access is through pretending to be a part of a trust worthy entity in an electronic communication, such as pretending to be an IT Administrator in an email asking a user to verify their username and password.
PHR – Personal Health Record
Physical Therapist (PT) – A person who has been educated and trained to provide services to the community in order to develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional ability. Their goal is to maximize the quality of a person’s life.
PI – Patient Information
PMS – Patient Management System
Point of Service (POS) - This type of plan combines features from both the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). Members of a POS have an additional, mandatory supplemental or optional supplemental option of receiving specified services outside of the plan’s provider network.
POS – Point of Service
PPO – Preferred Provider Organization, Participating Provider Organization or Preferred Provider Option
Preferred Provider Option (PPO) – See Preferred Provider Organization.
Preferred Provider Organization – A group of medical doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who have contracted with an insurer or third-party administrator in order to provide reduced rates for individuals under that insurer.
Program – Coded instructions designed for use on an electronic device. Without programs, a computer would be unable to function.
PT – Physical Therapist
Rate of Return (ROI) – See Return on Investment.
Return on Investment (ROI) – In finance, ROI is a comparison between the amount of money invested into a product or service, and the amount of money gained from that investment. In medicine in terms of an EHR system, a ROI refers to the comparison between the amount of money invested and the amount of money saved after that initial investment. Alternative Names: Rate of Return (ROR), Rate of Profit, or Return.
Risk Analysis – Evaluating the risk level of an activity based on factors which could result in future problems or failure of that activity.
ROI – Return on Investment
Router – A device which joins multiple networks together. A router is often used to join a Local Area Network (LAN), like an office network, to a Wide Area Network (WAN), such as the Internet.
SAN – Storage Area Network or System Area Network. While both utilizing the acronym SAN, their meanings are slightly different.
SDM – Shared Decision Making
Shared Decision Making (SDM) – In medicine, SDM refers to the interaction between patients and their physicians in order to ensure a patient’s decision on their health care is well informed. This interaction relies on the physician discussing the patient’s options using the best available evidence about the treatment options, potential benefits, and possible risks.
Software – Applications designed to go-between the actual hardware of an electronic device and the user’s requests.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – A provider which licenses an application or software to a customer. This software is often supported on a server. Users then access this software remotely via their computer. It is fairly common for this service to be offered through the use of an application service provider (ASP).
State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) – See Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
STNA – State Tested Nurse Aid
Stylus – A writing utensil commonly found with touch screen devices such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). This device contains no ink and allows for more accurate control of a pointer versus using a finger.
Subnotebook – A subclass of traditional laptop or notebook computers. These devices are smaller and lighter than a laptop but are generally larger than a handheld computer.
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Thick Client – A thick or fat client does all of its own processing of data and then simply sends the end results to the server. This is the opposite of a thin client
Thin Client – A thin client is a computer which sends most of its processing to a server and then gets the results back. This is opposite of a thick or fat client.
Touch Screen – A specialized digital screen which can detect or sense the touch of either a finger or a stylus on the screen. This allows for direct interaction between the screen and the user instead of having to go through a third party such as a mouse or keyboard.
United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) – See Food and Drug Administration.
USFDA – United States Food and Drug Administration
Web – World Wide Web
Wide Area Network (WAN) – A WAN is typically made of a group of Local Area Networks (LANs) connected together by a router. These networks are not owned by anyone and are often the collaborative effort of a large number of people. The largest WAN would be the Internet.
WiFi – Known as Wireless Internet. Alternative spellings include: Wi-Fi, WIFI, or Wi Fi.
Wired Network – A network which is connected via cables.
Wireless Internet – The ability to wireless connect to the internet from a computer or other web capable device.
Wireless Local Area Network – A Local Area Network (LAN) which is connected together using the WiFi wireless technology.
Wireless Network – A network which receives its connections wirelessly from a router.
WWW – World Wide Web, the Internet, the Web.