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SOPIT's Glossary of Informatics Terms
The following is a collection of informatics terms and definitions. Additional terms or modifications will be considered on a quarterly basis by the Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology. Feedback and suggestions can
be provided at [email protected]
Terms to define
Automated dispensing system (ADS)
An automated dispensing system is a system of computerized drug storage devices or cabinets that allow medications to be
stored and dispensed near the point of care, while controlling and tracking drug distribution. They also are called unit-based
cabinets (UBCs), automated dispensing devices (ADDs), automated distribution cabinets (ADCs) or automated dispensing
machines (ADMs).
Advanced Interprofessional Informatics Certification
A certification process for professionals who practice clinical/health informatics at an advanced level that is currently being
developed by AMIA.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
The agency's mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. It has
focused its health information technology activities on the following three goals: (1) to improve health care decision-making;
(2) to support patient-centered care; and (3) to improve the quality and safety of medication management.
Alert Fatigue
A commonly observed condition among clinicians overwhelmed with large numbers of clinically insignificant alerts, thus
causing them to "tune out" and potentially miss an important drug-drug or drug allergy alert.
The association's primary goal is to provide the knowledge, resources, and tools to advance health information professional
American Health Information Management Association practice and standards for the delivery of quality healthcare. Whether you work in the field or are just interested in learning
more about the profession, provides the answers to your health information management (HIM) questions and
effective solutions for critical HIM issues.
American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
The association is the center of action for more than 5,000 health care professionals, informatics researchers, and thoughtleaders in biomedicine, health care and science. It is an unbiased, authoritative source within the informatics community and
the health care industry. The organization and its members are transforming healthcare through trusted science, education,
and practice in biomedical and health informatics.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Signed in February 2009, the goals of this bill are to create jobs, restore economic growth, and strengthen America's middle
class through measures that modernize the nation's infrastructure, enhance America's energy independence, expand
educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable healthcare, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need,
and for other purposes. It includes the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act,
which includes over $20 billion to aid in the development of a robust IT infrastructure for healthcare and to assist providers
and other entities in adopting and using health IT.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the institute empowers its members and constituents to
strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers
and the protection of the environment. It oversees the creation, promulgation, and use of thousands of norms and guidelines
that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector: from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and
livestock production to energy distribution, and many more.
American Society of Health System Pharmacy
Section on Information and Technology
The pharmacy practice section that connects specialists who share professional interests and goals in interfacing information
technology and medication use to improve safety, efficiency, and patient care.
Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA)
A control system that uses barcoding to prevent human errors in the administration of prescription medications in health care
settings. The goal is to make sure that patients are receiving the correct medications at the correct time by electronically
validating and documenting medications. The information encoded in barcodes allows for the comparison of the medication
being administered with what was ordered for the patient.
Terms to define
Big Data
The massive amounts of data collected over time that are difficult to analyze and handle using common database management
tools. The data are analyzed for marketing trends in business as well as in the fields of manufacturing, medicine, and science.
The types of data include business transactions, e-mail messages, photos, surveillance videos, activity logs, and unstructured
text from blogs and social media, as well as the huge amounts of data that can be collected from sensors of all varieties.
PC Magazine
Conceptualizing biology in terms of macromolecules (in the sense of physical-chemistry) and then applying "informatics"
techniques (derived from disciplines such as applied mathematics, computer science, and statistics) to understand and
organize the information associated with these molecules, on a large scale.
Biomedical Informatics
The interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for
scientific inquiry, problem solving, and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health.
Blue Button
The electronic application that allows patients the capability to download their personal health information from a patient
portal in a very simple text file or PDF. This application also allows them to enter their own personal health indicators,
emergency contact information, test results, family health history, military health history, and other related health information.
Through the Blue Button Connector website, patients can access information from health insurers, hospitals, clinics,
providers, pharmacies, laboratories, or immunization registries.
Business Continuity
The capability of the organization to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a
disruptive incident.
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics
and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
An independent accrediting organization whose mission is to serve the public interest by establishing and enforcing quality
Accreditation Standards for Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIM) educational programs.
Certified Associate in Health Information &
Management Systems (CAHIMS)
A professional certification program for healthcare information and management systems administered by HIMSS (Health
Information Management Systems Society) and designed for emerging professionals who may or may not have experience
within the industry. Its goal is to create a pathway for careers in health IT.
Certified Professional in Health Information &
Management Systems (CPHIMS)
A professional certification program for healthcare information and management systems administered by HIMSS (Health
Information Management Systems Society) and designed for experienced healthcare information and management systems
Certification Commission for Health Information
Technology (CCHIT)
An independent voluntary private-sector initiative organized as a limited liability corporation that has been awarded a contract
by HHS to develop, create prototypes for, and evaluate the certification criteria and inspection process for electronic health
record (EHR) products.
Chief Clinical Informatics Officer (CCIO)
A job title given to the individual at an enterprise who is responsible for integrating knowledge of the health care system,
clinical care, and information technology. Typically, this position is held by a clinician who has developed into an informatics
leader. CCIO is a broad term with heterogenous roles that can include the roles of Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO),
Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO), Chief Pharmacy Informatics Officer (CPIO), and Chief Dental Informatics Officer
(CDIO); some organizations will have multiple CCIOs that fulfill these various roles.
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
A job title given to the individual at an enterprise who is responsible for the information technology (IT) strategy and the
computer systems that are needed to support the enterprise's objectives and goals.
Chief Nursing Information/Informatics Officer
A job title given to the individual at an enterprise who is responsible for the strategy, development and implementation of
Information Technology to support nursing, nursing practice and clinical applications and who collaborates on the clinical and
administrative decision-making process within the organization.
Chief Medical Information/Informatics Officer
A job title given to the individual at an enterprise who is responsible for a healthcare organization’s design, implementation,
and use of technology. Typically, this position is held by a practicing physician who is trained in information technology and
stills see patients part-time.
Business Continuity Council
Health Informatics Degree
Terms to define
Chief Pharmacy Informatics Officer (CPIO)
A job title given to the individual at an enterprise who is responsible for providing leadership in the area of medication use
processes and information technology that can extend into pharmacy operations, medication safety, quality improvement,
pharmaceutical waste, medication operations, and medication administration. The role of the CPIO is poorly defined at the
current time, and most organizations do not have an individual in this role.
Clinical Decision Support System
Computer tools or applications to assist clinicians in clinical decisions by providing evidence-based knowledge in the context
of patient-specific data. Typically, a decision support system responds to "triggers" or "flags" — specific diagnoses, laboratory
results, medication choices, or complex combinations of such parameters — and provides information or recommendations
directly relevant to a specific patient encounter.
Clinical Document Architecture (CDA)
A Health Level Seven (HL7) XML-based document markup standard for the electronic exchange model for clinical
documents (such as discharge summaries and progress notes). The implementation guide contains a library of CDA templates,
incorporating and harmonizing previous efforts from HL7, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, and Health Information
Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). It includes all required CDA templates for stage 1 of the Meaningful Use EHR
Incentive Program and HITECH final rule. It is commonly referred to as Consolidate CDA or C-CDA.
Clinical Informatics
The application of biomedical informatics methods and techniques, including information technology, to deliver healthcare
services. All informatics when used for healthcare delivery falls in this category, regardless of the health professional group
involved (dentist, pharmacist, physician, nurse, or other health professional). It includes a wide range of topics ranging from
clinical decision support to clinical documentation to provider order entry systems, and from system design to system
implementation and adoption issues.
Clinical Information Systems
Computer based system that is designed for collecting, storing, manipulating and making available clinical information
important to the healthcare delivery process.
Computerized Provider Order Entry/Computerized
Prescriber Order Entry (CPOE)
A clinical information system that allows clinicians to record patient-specific orders (tests, treatments, management plans, and
the like) for communication to other patient care team members and to other information systems. Sometimes called provider
order entry or practitioner order entry. The computer compares the order against standards for dosing, checks for allergies or
interactions with other medications, and warns the physician about potential problems.
Continuity of Care Document (CCD)
An XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure and semantics of a patient summary clinical
document for exchange. In February of 2007, HL7 and ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing
and Materials) announced that CCR and CDA were integrated to create the CCD. Subsequently, the U.S. Healthcare
Information Technology Standards Panel endorsed the CCD as one of its standards.
Continuity of Care Record (CCR)
A standard for the creation of electronic summaries of patient health. Its aim is to improve the quality of health care and to
reduce medical errors by making current information readily available to physicians.
Continuous Improvement (CI)
An ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or
“breakthrough” improvement all at once.
Covered Entity (CE)
A health plan, a healthcare clearinghouse, or a healthcare provider who transmits any health information in electronic form in
connection with a transaction covered by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH).
Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records
The designation that indicates the holder has mastered the common body of knowledge covering planning, implementation,
operation of EHR for knowledge management, quality improvement, patient safety, and care coordination. The curriculum
adjusts the strategies to make the most of an electronic health record investment, enhancing capabilities, using new
technologies, and building value.
Health IT Certification
Terms to define
Certified Professional in Health Information Exchange
The designation that indicates that the holder has mastered the Common Body of Knowledge covering planning, governance,
information architecture and stewardship, personal health records, telehealth and home monitoring and other exchanges of
electronic information among organizations. The CPHIE curriculum incorporates the strategies to make the most of the HIE
investment, enhancing capabilities, using new technologies to integrate and exchange data interoperably among organizations,
addressing patient information via personal health records, home monitoring, and telehealth.
Health IT Certification
Certified Professional in Health Information
Technology (CPHIT)
The designation that indicates the holder has mastered the common body of knowledge covering planning, selecting,
implementing, using, and managing health information technology (HIT) and EHR applications. It introduces the use of HIT
in any setting within the continuum of care.
Health IT Certification
Certified Professional in Operating Rules
Administration (CPORA)
The designation that indicates that the holder has mastered Common Body of Knowledge covering successful EDI and
workflow process improvement to achieve a higher degree of business process automation with operating rules including
eligibility and claim status, electronic funds transfer and electronic remittance advice, and interoperable trading partner
Health IT Certification
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
A code set maintained by the American Medical Association through the CPT Editorial Panel. The code set accurately
describes medical, surgical, and diagnostic services and is designed to communicate uniform information about medical
services and procedures among physicians, coders, patients, accreditation organizations, and payors for administrative,
financial, and analytical purposes.
The activity or process, ability or capability, or state whereby information and communications systems and the information
contained therein are protected from and/or defended against damage, unauthorized use or modification, or exploitation.
A user interface that organizes and presents information in a way that is easy to read and is likely to be interactive.
Data Analytics
The science of examining raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about that information. It includes data mining,
machine language, development of models, and statistical measurements and can be descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive.
Data Dictionary
A descriptive list of the names, definitions, and attributes of data elements to be collected in an information system or
database whose purpose is to standardize definitions and ensure consistent use.
Data Mapping
Data mapping allows for connections between two systems. This connection allows for data initially captured for one purpose
to be translated and used for another purpose. One system in a map is identified as the source while the other is the target. It is
a process by which two distinct data models are created and a link between these models is defined. This process is used in
data warehousing by which different data models are linked to each other using a defined set of methods to characterize the
data in a specific definition. This definition can be any atomic unit, such as a unit of metadata or any other semantic. This data
linking follows a set of standards, which depends on the domain value of the data model used. Data mapping serves as the
initial step in data integration.
Data Mining
The process of extracting and analyzing large volumes of data from a database for the purpose of identifying hidden and
sometimes subtle relationships or patterns and using those relationships to predict behaviors
Data Quality
Data Warehouse
National Initiative for
Cybersecurity Careers and
Refers to the level of quality of data. There are many definitions of data quality, but data are generally considered high quality
Juran, J.M. Juran on
Leadership for Quality: An
if "they are fit for their intended uses in operations, decision making and planning." (J. M. Juran). If the ISO 9000:2015
definition of quality is applied, data quality can be defined as the degree to which a set of characteristics of data fulfills
Executive Handbook. New
requirements. Examples of characteristics are: completeness, validity, accuracy, consistency, availability and timeliness.
York: The Free Press, 1989.
Requirements are defined as the need or expectation that is stated, generally implied, or obligatory.
A subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant, nonvolatile collection of data in support of management’s decision-making
Terms to define
A collection of data in machine readable format organized in order that it can be retrieved or processed automatically by
computer. A flat file database is organized like a card file, with many records (cards) each including one or more fields (data
items). A relational database is organized as one or more related tables, each containing columns and rows. Data are
organized in a database according to a schema or data model; some items are often coded using a clinical coding system.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human
Early Adopter
An organization or individual who embraces new technology or administrative practices before others typically do.
The use of internet technology by the public, health workers, and others to access health and lifestyle information, services
and support; it encompasses telemedicine, telecare, etc.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
An electronic record of the total health of the patient—going beyond standard clinical data collected in the provider’s office
and inclusive of a broader view on a patient’s care. EHRs are designed to reach out beyond the health organization that
originally collects and compiles the information. They are built to share information with other health care providers, such as
laboratories and specialists, so they contain information from all the clinicians involved in the patient’s care.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
A digital version of the paper charts in a health care organization that contains the medical and treatment history of the
patients within this organization.
Electronic Prescribing (E-Prescribing)
EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM)
A type of computer technology whereby physicians use handheld or personal computer devices to review drug and formulary
coverage and to transmit prescriptions to a printer or to a local pharmacy. E-Prescribing software can be integrated into
existing clinical information systems to allow physician access to patient-specific information to screen for drug interactions
and allergies.
An 8-stage model that was created by HIMSS Analytics that allows healthcare organizations to track their progress in
electronic medical record adoption against other organizations across the country and view scores in the HIMSS Analytics®
Basic concepts in medical
Basic concepts in medical
Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI)
A database that contains a unique identifier (ID) for every patient in the enterprise. EMPI organizes patient IDs from external
systems, allowing cross-referencing of patient records and access to them using their medical record numbers from external or
legacy systems. Also known as MPI (Master Patient Index).
Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances
The electronic prescribing of controlled substances to reduce the potential for diversion, and subsequent abuse, of controlled
substances. In accordance with these objectives, the Drug Enforcement Agency ruling stipulates that certain requirements
must be met before an organization can enable it.
An applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most
efficient and safely - also called biotechnology, human engineering, or human factors.
Extensible Markup Language (XML)
Introduced in 1998, XML is an open standard data exchange language for describing and defining data elements on a Web
page, business-to-business, and clinical documents.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Software that works at the point of contact (interface) between a computer and its user, and which employs
graphic elements (dialog boxes, icons, menus, scroll bars) instead of text characters to let the user give commands to the
computer or to manipulate what is on the screen. Its elements are usually accessed through a pointing device such as a mouse,
pen, or stylus. All programs running under a GUI use a consistent set of graphical elements so that once the user learns a
particular interface, he or she can use all programs without learning additional or new commands.
The actions (operations), capabilities, and usefulness of something such as a software application.
Health Informatics
The fields of clinical informatics and public health informatics, including both applied research and practice
Health Information Exchange (HIE)
The electronic movement of health related information among organizations according to national guidelines
Merriam Webster Dictionary
Business Directory
Terms to define
Health Information Technology (HIT)
The application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage,
retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.
Applications of health IT include the electronic health record (EHR), the personal health record (PHR), computerized
provider order entry (CPOE), and clinical decision support (CDS). In addition, health information exchanges (HIEs) are being
developed to support sharing of information electronically among health care providers. e-Heath tools like Personal Health
Apps and Online Communities could also be considered part of the broader health IT world.
Health Information Technology for Economic and
Clinical Health (HITECH)
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, signed into law on February 17, 2009, as a part of
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), amended the Public Health Service Act to codify the Office of the
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), required the national coordinator to establish a governance
mechanism for a nationwide health information network (NIHN), and required the national coordinator to establish a
voluntary program to certify health IT. Through HITECH, Congress also amended the Social Security Act to pay incentive
payments to hospitals and physicians to promote adoption and use of certified health IT technologies. It also reduces payments
for those who are not meaningful EHR users, beginning in 2015. Finally, the HITECH Act includes a series of privacy and
security provisions that would amend and expand the current HIPAA requirements.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Also known as the "Kennedy-Kassebaum Act (1996)," this U.S. law protects employees' health insurance coverage when they
change or lose their jobs (Title I) and provides standards for patient health, administrative and financial data interchange
(Title II). The latter also governs the privacy and security of health information records and transactions. HIPAA, developed
by the Department of Health and Human Services, took effect in 2001 with compliance required in phases up to 2004.
Health Level Seven International (HL7)
An ANSI-accredited, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization involved in development of international healthcare standards.
HL7, a standards developing organization, and its members provide a framework for the exchange, integration, sharing, and
retrieval of electronic health information. The standards, which support clinical practice and the management, delivery, and
evaluation of health services, are the most commonly used in the world. Within the standard, the "7" comes from application
layer 7 in the OSI model, which is the highest level where programs talk to each other.
Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System
Commonly pronounced "Hicks-Picks" and based on the American Medical Association's CPT codes, it provides a
standardized coding system for describing the specific items and services provided in the delivery of healthcare. Used for
reporting to Medicare and Medicaid.
Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set
A set of standard performance measures that can give an individual information about the quality of a health plan. One can
find out about the quality of care, access, cost, and other measures to compared managed care plans. The Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects HEDIS data for Medicare plans.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems
Society (HIMSS)
A global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). It leads
efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.
Health Information Management (HIM)
The practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality
patient care. Health information management professionals work in a variety of different settings and job titles. They often
serve in bridge roles, connecting clinical, operational, and administrative functions. These professionals affect the quality of
patient information and patient care at every touch point in the healthcare delivery cycle.
Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel
A cooperative partnership between the public and private sectors for the purpose of achieving a widely accepted and useful
set of standards specifically to enable and support widespread interoperability among healthcare software applications, as they
will interact in a local, regional, and national health information network for the United States.
Human Factors
The scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and
the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and other methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and
overall system performance.
Terms to define
Inadvertent and preventable induction of disease or complications by the medical treatment of procedures of physician or
A boundary across which two independent systems meet and act on or communicate with each other
Interface Engine
Software that enables many dislike systems to pass information back and forth using a set of defined standards. Interface
engines typically perform functions such as: store and forward of messages, message translation, message routing,
management tools, alerts and monitoring.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
Published by the World Health Organization, these diagnostic codes are designed for the classification of morbidity and
mortality information for statistical purposes, for the indexing of hospital records by disease and operations, and for data
storage and retrieval.
Merriam Webster Dictionary
A coding system for medical diagnoses, symptoms, and nonspecific complaints. It is frequently used on insurance claim forms
International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision,
to identify the reasons for providing medical services. ICD-10 codes must be used on all HIPAA transactions, including
Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM)
outpatient claims with dates of service, and inpatient claims
International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA)
The world body for health and biomedical informatics. As an 'association of associations', it acts as a bridging organization,
bringing together the constituent organizations and their members. The basic goals and objectives of the association are to:
promote informatics in health care and research in health, bio, and medical informatics; advance and nurture international
cooperation; stimulate research, development and routine application; move informatics from theory into practice in a full
range of health delivery settings, from physician's office to acute and long term care; further the dissemination and exchange
of knowledge, information and technology; promote education and responsible behavior; and represent the medical and health
informatics field with the World Health Organization and other international professional and governmental organizations.
The act of bringing together smaller components into a single system that functions as one. It refers to the end result of a
process that aims to stitch together different, often disparate, subsystems so that the data contained in each becomes part of a
larger, more comprehensive system that, ideally, quickly and easily shares data when needed and often requires that
companies build a customized architecture or structure of applications to combine new or existing hardware, software, and
other communications.
The ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance
the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.
A person that uses technology tools to support the management of information within an organization.
International Standards Organization (ISO)
Developer and publisher of International Standards that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors to enable a
consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association (JAMIA)
AMIA's peer-reviewed journal for biomedical and health informatics. JAMIA includes informatics articles in the areas of
clinical care, clinical research, translational science, implementation science, imaging, education, consumer health, public
health, and policy.
A set of operating philosophies and methods that help create a maximum value for patients by reducing waste and waits. The
approach is a continuous process improvement system comprising of structured inventory management, waste reduction and
quality improvement techniques. It utilizes a continuous learning cycle that is driven by the 'true’ experts in the processes of
health care, being the patients/families, health care providers, and support staff.
Legacy IT
An existing health information technology (IT) application or system that is in place when new IT is installed and may
represent a significant prior investment. Compatibility with legacy IT is a major issue when considering acquisition of new
applications or software.
Healthcare IT News
Systematic Reviews
Terms to define
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes
A database and universal standard for identifying laboratory observations. It was developed and is maintained by the
Regenstrief Institute, Inc., an internationally-recognized non-profit medical research organization, in 1994. LOINC was
created in response to the demand for an electronic database for clinical care and management and is publicly available at no
Meaningful Use (MU)
A tiered set of objectives related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive
programs. Meaningful Use criteria must be met by eligible professionals and hospitals if they are to collect financial rewards
for the implementation of qualified, certified EHRs to achieve health and efficiency goals.
Medical Informatics
A field of information science concerned with the management of data and information used to diagnose, treat, cure, and
prevent disease through the application of computers and computer technologies.
Medication Use Process
One of the most complex and risky processes in the hospital. It involves a large number of caregivers in widely diverse areas physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and respiratory therapists - and includes history taking, ordering and transcribing, medication
procurement, pharmacy management, administration management, and quality assurance.
Software that serves as an intermediary between systems software and an application, allowing them to exchange data.
Mobile Health
Health software programs that run on smartphones and other mobile communication devices.
National Council for Prescription Drug Programs
Founded in 1977, a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited, Standards Development Organization with over 1500 members
representing virtually every sector of the pharmacy services industry, the NCPDP creates and promotes the transfer of data
related to medications, supplies, and services within the healthcare system through the development of standards and industry
Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN)
A set of standards, services, and policies that enable the secure exchange of health information over the Internet.
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
The world’s largest medical library. It collects materials and provides information and research services in all areas of
biomedicine and health care. It is also an NIH institute and supports research and training in areas related to biomedical and
health information management and information technology.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department, formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards, it promotes and maintains
measurement standards. It also has active programs for encouraging and assisting industry and science to develop and use
these standards.
Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONC)
The principle federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health
information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of the National Coordinator was
created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the HITECH Act of 2009.
Patient-Generated Health Data (PGHD)
Health-related data created, recorded, or gathered by or from patients (or family members or other caregivers) to help address
a health concern. It includes, but are not limited to: health history, treatment history, biometric data symptoms, and lifestyle
Patient Portal
A secure online website that gives patients convenient 24 hour access to personal health information from anywhere within
internet connection.
Personal Health Record (PHR)
An electronic health record that is maintained by the patient, typically combining information from a variety of encounters
with multiple providers.
Terms to define
The study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of
drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be
tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.
Pharmacy Informatics
An integral discipline within the clinical informatics domain, centered on the effective management and delivery of
medication related data, information, and knowledge across systems that support the medication-use process. Also referred to
as pharmacoinformatics.
Pharmacy Health Information Technology (HIT)
A group of 9 national pharmacy organizations and associate members that advocates integrating the pharmacist’s role of
providing patient care services into the national health information technology interoperable framework.
Precision Medicine or Personalized Medicine
According to the National Research Council, “personalized medicine” is an older term with a meaning similar to “precision
medicine.” Precision medicine focuses on identifying which approaches will be effective for which patients based on genetic,
environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Protected Health Information (PHI)
Information about patients that is protected from inappropriate disclosure under the privacy and security mandates of the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and subsequent related legislation.
A database and associated applications that collects a minimum dataset on a specified group of patients (often those with a
certain disease or who have undergone a specific procedure), health professionals, organizations, or even clinical trials.
Registries can be used to explore and improve the quality of care or to support research, for example to monitor long term
outcomes or rare complications of procedures. Key issues in registries are maintaining confidentiality, coverage of the target
population, and data quality
A normalized naming system for clinical drugs that links its names to many of the drug vocabularies commonly used in
pharmacy management and drug interaction software, including those of First Databank, Micromedex, MediSpan, Gold
National Library of Medicine
Standard Alchemy, and Multum. By providing links between these vocabularies, it can mediate messages between systems not
using the same software and vocabulary.
Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience
(SAFER) Guides
Self-assessment booklets designed to help healthcare organizations optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. Each begins
with a checklist that can be used by a multidisciplinary team to assess their organization’s level of implementation of each
recommended practice. The nine guides include: High Priority Practices, Organizational Responsibilities, Contingency
Planning, System Configuration, System Interfaces, Patient Identification, CPOE with Decision Support, Test Results
Reporting and Follow-up, and Clinician Communication.
System Error
An error attributable to a combination of causes rather than to a single point of failure or a single individual.
Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical
A systematically organized computer processable collection of medical terminology covering most areas of clinical
information such as diseases, findings, procedures, microorganisms, pharmaceuticals, etc. It allows a consistent way to index,
store, retrieve, and aggregate clinical data across specialties and sites of care. It helps organizing the content of medical
records, reducing the variability in the way data is captured, encoded, and used for clinical care of patients and research.
Telehealth or Telemedicine
A telecommunications system that links healthcare organizations and patients from diverse geographic locations and transmits
text and images for medical consultation and treatment.
Pharmacy HIT
Genetics Home Reference
Basic concepts in medical
Terms to define
Unified Medical Language System (UMLS)
A language system that integrates and distributes key terminology, classification and coding standards, and associated
resources to promote creation of more effective and interoperable biomedical information systems and services, including
electronic health records
Unintended Consequence
Unanticipated and unwanted effect of health information implementation.
The extent to which a product can be used by specified people to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and
satisfaction in a specified context of use.
User Experience
Focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.
User Interface
The display of computer information and the processes required to view and input information and how users must interact
with the computer program.
A technology or product for which a tech company may pre-announce development but never actually hits the market.
Because many of these announcements are never backed up by an actual product release or are officially canceled, it alludes
to their spectral nature and the fact that they essentially vanish into thin air before consumers get to see them.
Wearable Device
A computer that is subsumed into the personal space of a user, controlled by the user, and has both operational and
interactional constancy, i.e., is always on and
always accessible. Wearable devices have the same computing abilities as mobile phones and tablet computers.
An informal practice or temporary fix used by frontline heath care workers to deal with a perceived block or disruption to the
normal work flow (for example, when personnel find ways of bypassing safety features of medical equipment).
The series of activities that are necessary to complete a task. Each step has a specific step before it and a specific step after it,
with the exception of the first step. In a linear workflow, the first step is usually initiated by an outside event. If the workflow
has a loop structure, however, the first step is initiated by the completion of the last step.