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Alphabetical list of HIT Vocabulary


Need a list of acronyms in alphabetical order and what they stand for? We have that, too.


Accountable Care Organization (ACO): MEDICARE’s outcomes-based contracting approach
Acute disease: medical problems that either go away on their own or can be cured with a limited course of treatment
Agent-based models: agents represent "actors" in a process and can have a rich set of attributes that allow them to make decisions about how to communicate or interact with each other and their environment
American Recovery and Reconstruction Act (ARRA): the Obama administration’s 2009 economic stimulus bill
Arden Syntax: an approach to specifying medical knowledge and clinical decision support rules in a form that is independent of any electronic health record (EHR) and thus sharable across hospitals


Bioinformatics: computational modeling of complex intracellular biochemical processes
Biosense: the CDC’s electronic surveillance network for disease outbreaks and bioterrorism
Blue Button: an ASCII text-based standard for heath information sharing first introduced by the Veteran’s Administration to facilitate access to records stored in VistA by their patients
Blue Button +: a newer Blue Button format that provides both human (e.g. text) and machine readable (e.g. XML) formats


Care Coordinator: a professional who engages with and monitors patients between visits to what is often a patient centered medical home model practice
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): the federal agency focused on disease in the community
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): the component of the Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs
Centralized architecture: a form of HIE in which data is aggregated and stored centrally in order to provide value-added services
Certificate Authority (CA): an entity that digitally signs certificate requests and issues X.509 digital certificates that link a public key to attributes of its owner
Chronic disease: medical problems that can't be cured and for which the goal of treatment is management to avoid long term complications
Clinical Context Object Workshop (CCOW): an HL7 standard for synchronizing and coordinating applications to automatically follow the patient; user (and other) contexts allow the clinical user’s experience to resemble interacting with a single system when the user is using multiple, independent applications from many different systems
Clinical Data Repository: a database specifically designed to support ad hoc query and usually populated with data from EHRs and other clinical support systems in a hospital or health system
Clinical Decision Support: the provision of evidence-based medical advice to providers, ideally within the context of decision making using their EHR
Clinical Document Architecture (CDA): an XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure, and semantics of clinical documents
Clinical Information Modeling Initiative (CIMI): an independent collaboration of major health providers to improve the interoperability of healthcare information systems through shared and implementable clinical information models
CONNECT: ONC supported open source software for managing the centralized model of HIE
Consolidated CDA (CCDA): the second revision of HL7’s CDA that attempts to introduce more standardized templates to facilitate information sharing (a mandate of Meaningful Use 2)
Context Management Specification (CMS): standards to allow diverse and non-interoperable systems to present data to end users as though it all comes froma single system
Continuity of Care Document (CCD): an XML-based patient summary based on the CDA architecture
Continuity of Care Record (CCR): an XML-based patient summary format that preceded CDA
Controlled studies: random and blind assignment of patients into experimental groups, typically to test the efficacy and cost effectiveness of alternate forms of treatment
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): the American Medical Association’s standard for coding medical procedures


Data Lockers: an HIE tool for central data storage while data sources maintain control of its use
Data Segmentation Models: approaches to obtaining patient consent to use specific subsets of their health data
Data Segmentation: technologies for dividing health data into logical groups in order to obtain patient consent for sharing of some parts of their health data
Data Warehouse: a storage facility for data from multiple sources usually to facilitate access and analysis
De-identified Health Information: clinical data from which 18 specified fields are removed to prevent identifying the patient (or which has been deemed by an expert to be sufficiently manipulated to prevent identifying the patient)
Decision Trees: directed (no repetition) graphs to model a one-way decision making process
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): the genetic material that is passed down across generations and stores information unique to an individual
Discrete Event Simulation: a model in which entities have attributes and can wait in queues for resources
Distributed Query Standards: standards to request and receive specified data from diverse and distributed sources
Distributed Query: a request for specific data from diverse and distributed sources (e.g. HQMF)
Domain Name System (DNS): the naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet (or a private network). Among other things, it translates domain names (for example, eBay.com) to the numerical IP addresses needed to locate Internet connected resources


e-Prescribing: the electronic ordering of prescription medications, ideally through an EHR, and the transmission of that order to a connected pharmacy of the patient’s choosing
eHealth Exchange: a set of standards, services, and policies that enable secure nationwide, Internet-based HIE using CONNECT or one of the commercial HIE products that support eHealth Exchange
eHealth Initiative (eHI): a non-profit whose members seek to improve the quality of healthcare by promoting the use of technology and information
EHR certification: a set of technical requirements developed by ONC that, if met, qualify an EHR to be used by an eligible professional to achieve Meaningful Use
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): a format for electronic messaging that utilizes cryptic but compact notation primarily to support computer-to-computer commercial information exchange
Electronic Health Record (EHR): a stakeholder-wide electronic record of a patient’s complete health situation
Electronic Medical Record (EMR): an electronic record used by a licensed professional care provider
Extensible Markup Language (XML): a widely used standard for machine- and human-readable electronic documents and the language used to de.ne CDA templates


Fast Health Interoperable Resources (FHIR): an HL7 initiative that seeks to use modern web standards and technologies to simplify and expedite real world interoperability solutions
Federated Architecture: an HIE architecture in which sensitive health data remains stored in the source systems


Gatekeeper: a provider (usually a primary care physician in an HMO) with overall responsibility for a patient’s care and who controls access to specialist physicians


Health Informatics (HIT): the set of tools needed to facilitate electronic
Health Information Exchange (HIE): the sharing of digital health information by the various stakeholders involved, including the patient
Health Information Systems Programme (HISP): a component of Direct that provides a provider directory, secure e-mail addresses, and public-key infrastructure (PKI)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): legislation intended to secure health insurance for employees changing jobs and simplify administration with electronic transactions. It also defines the rules concerning patient privacy and security for PHI.
Health Level-7 (HL7): a not-for-pro.t global organization to establish standards for interoperability
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): an organization that provides managed healthcare on a prepaid basis. Employers with 25 or more employees must cover federally certified HMO options if they offer traditional healthcare options.
Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF): an XML-based standard for specifying a query for a health quality metric
Health System: a network of providers that are affiliated for the more integrated delivery of care
HL7 Development Framework (HDF): the framework used by HL7 to produce specifications for data, messaging process, and other standards
hQuery: an ONC-funded, open source effort to develop a generalized set of distributed queries across diverse EHRs for such purposes as clinical research. It is now part of the more comprehensive Query Health Project initiated by ONC
Hybrid architecture: an HIE architecture that combines centralized and federated data storage
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): a query-response protocol used to transfer information between web browsers and connected servers. HTTPS is the secure version


i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside): a scalable query framework for exploration of clinical and genomic data for research to design targeted therapies for individual patients with diseases having genetic origins
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP): a newer (than POP) two-way email standard that provides more functionality
International Classification of Disease (ICD): the World Health Organization’s almost universally used standard codes for diagnoses. The current version is ICD-10, but ICD-9 is used in most US institutions. The conversion date is October 1, 2014
Interoperability: the ability of diverse information systems to seamlessly share data and coordinate on tasks involving multiple systems


Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP): a protocol for accessing (including searching) and maintaining distributed directory information services (such as an e-mail directory) over an IP network
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC): the Regenstrief Institute’s standard for laboratory and clinical observations


Markov Decision Process (MDP):a series of probability-driven decision trees where the output of each is the input to the next
Markov Models: decision trees that use recursion (events can repeat), represent time and may, optionally, have memory of past events/decisions
Meaningful Use: a set of usage requirements defined in three stages by ONC under which eligible professionals are paid for adopting a certified EHR. The three stages are often referred to as MU1, MU2, and MU3
Medicare: the federally operated program to provide healthcare services to US citizens over the age of 65
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME): the Internet standard for the format of e-mail attachments used in Direct. S/MIME is the secure version


National Drug Code (NDC): the Food and Drug Administration’s numbering system for all medications commercially available in the United States


Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC): the agency created in 2004 within the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the deployment of HIT in the United States
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): a 34 member group of advanced countries that seeks to improve global economic development through a stronger, cleaner, fairer world


Patient Portal: a secure website that gives patients access to personal health information. Data typically include: recent provider visits, hospital discharge summaries, and clinical information such as medications and lab results. More advanced portals provide functions like e-mail to the provider, appointment scheduling, and prescription renewal requests
Pay for Performance (P4P): an approach to pay for healthcare that rewards physician performance against certain defined quality metrics
Personal Health Record (PHR): typically a web page where health data and information related to their care is maintained by the patient
PopMedNet: a technology for reporting population level data from diverse and distributed sources
Primary Care Physician (PCP): the generalist in a patient’s care team who assumes overall responsibility for all their health issues and often the gatekeeper who must generate referrals to specialists
Privacy Consent Models: approaches to obtaining patient consent for sharing clinical data
Privacy: assuring that clinical data is only shared according to patient specified preferences
Private Key: the protected (known only to its owner) part of the special pair of numbers used to encrypt documents using PKI
Process mining: inferring overall processes from discrete data collected from/about events that are part of the process
Protected Health Information (PHI): any health or health-related information that can be related back to a specific patient. PHI is subject to HIPAA regulations
Provider: health professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, that are engaged in direct patient care
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI): a widely used system for protection of documents, messages, and other data that rests on a pair of public and private keys to allow for a variety of use cases
Public Key: the public part of the special pair of numbers used to encrypt documents using PKI


Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA): an XML standard for reporting quality metrics usually in response to an HQMF query
Query Health Project: ONC’s workgroup to identify the standards and services for distributed population health queries to certified EHRs and other patient data sources, such as HIEs


Reference Information Model (RIM): a pictorial representation of the HL7 clinical data (domains) that illustrates the life cycle of an HL7 message or groups of related messages
Registration Authority (RA): an entity that collects information for the purpose of verifying the identity of an individual or organization and produces a certificate request
Rescue Care: high technology care of patients with acute life threatening diseases or conditions


Security: limiting access to data to only those who are authorized to access it
Semantics: the meaning of words or expressions
Simplified Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP): the Internet standard for e-mail used by Direct. The secure version is S/SMTP
Syntactics: the structure of words or expressions
Systemized Nomenclature for Medicine (SNOMED): a comprehensive, hierarchical healthcare terminology system


Telemedicine: the use of telecommunications-based technologies to deliver remote medical care, monitor patients, or provide other healthcare services
Trust: assuring that data is being shared with the person or entity with whom it is supposedly being shared


X.509 Digital Certificate: the technical name for an electronic document issued by a CA that uses a digital signature to bind a public key with an identity based on information from an RA