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EMR terms

Accountable Care Organization (ACO):
Initiatives to deliver effective, efficient care across currently fragmented groups including patients, primary care providers, hospitals and specialists; sharing of risks and outcomes.

A type of DSL that uses copper telephone lines to transmit data faster than a traditional modem. ADSL only works within short distances because it uses high frequencies with short signals.

Ambulatory care:
Any medical care delivered on an outpatient basis.

(Applications Service Provider) A business that provides computer based services to customers over a network. Also know as SaaS (Software as a Service)

(Active Server Page) A dynamically generated web page with ActiveX scripting, which executes on the server instead of on the Web browser (HTML). The Server executes the file and generates an HTML formatted page for Search Engine Spiders or Web Browsers for proper display.

Beacon Communities:
Focus on health and management of chronic care cases and underserved communities. $220 Million provided to fund 15 such initiatives.

BMI charts:
Charts within EMR systems, which can manipulate data, perform calculations, and adapt to user preferences and patient characteristics; users may expect greater functionality from electronic BMI charts.

Capitated payments:
Payment for healthcare services based on the number of patients who are covered for specific services over a specified period of time rather than the cost or number of services that are actually provided.


Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, the recognized certification authority for electronic health records and their networks, and an independent, voluntary, private-sector initiative.


Certified HIT Product List

Citrix Server:

A server solution, similar to Microsoft Terminal Services that provides remote access to clients via the web or to dummy terminals in a network.


A company that provides clearing and settlement services for medical financial transactions. Some of the more popular clearinghouses include Emdeon/WebMD, McKesson and THIN.


A network architecture which separates the client (often an application that uses a graphical user interface) from the server.

Computerized Patient Record (CPR):
Also known as an EMR or EHR;.a patient's past, present, and future clinical data stored on a server.

Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE):

A system used by physicians to electronically order lab tests, imaging and prescriptions

Continuity of Care Record (CCR):

A new XML standard being developed for EMR software vendors to follow which will theoretically allow patient data to be easily moved from one EMR vendor to the next in a structured database format.

CPT Code:

A nationally recognizable five-digit number used to represent a service provided by a healthcare provider.

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM):

A standard to define the connectivity and communication between medical imaging devices.

Doctor's Office Quality-Information Technology

Drug Formulary Database:

Used for electronic prescribing, electronic medical record (EMR), and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems to present formulary status to the provider while during the prescribing decision.

E/M level coding:

Evaluation and Management level coding documentation of each visit which identifies each service provided during an office visit.


Electronic Data Interchange. Electronic communication between two parties, generally for the filing of electronic claims to payers.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR):

Electronic Medical Records. A computerized record of a patient's clinical, demographic and administrative data. Also known as a computer-based patient record (CPR) or electronic health record (EHR).

Electronic Eligibility:

An EMR feature which gives a payer access to deliver up-to-date insurance benefits eligibility information on patients.

Electronic Health Records (EHR):
See Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

Explanation of Benefits (EOB):

A statement from the patient's insurance company that breaks down services rendered at time of doctor or hospital visit and amounts covered by insurance provider.

Fee Schedule:

A set maximum fee that an insurance company will pay a healthcare provider.


A health insurance plan that allows policyholders to pay for any provider service; submit a claim to the insurance company; and get reimbursed if the service is covered by the insurance provider.

Fee Schedule:

A set maximum fee that an insurance company will pay a healthcare provider.

First Data Bank:
The leading provider of drug information. Provides context and integration information for heathcare of every type at every level.

Growth Chart:

A feature designed for Primary Care or an EMR that can be used for pediatric patients. Age, height, weight, and head measurements can be entered over the patient's lifetime and charted on a line graph.

HCFA (CMS-1500 Form):

The insurance claim form that a healthcare provider turns in to an insurance company.

HIE/Healthcare Information Exchanges:
$267 Million provided in funding.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 provides a set of federal regulations, which establish national standards for health care information.

HITECH: Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health

HL7 (Health Level 7):
Part of the American National Standards Institutes accredited Standard Developing Organization (SDO);the Health Level 7 domain is the standard for electronic interchange of clinical, financial and administrative info among healthcare oriented computer systems. A not-for-profit volunteer organization, it develops specifications, the most widely used of which is the messaging standard that enables disparate health care applications to exchange key sets of clinical and administrative data. HL7 promotes the use of standards within and among healthcare organizations to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery. HL7s international community of healthcare subject matter experts and information scientists are dedicated to the creation of a standard architecture for the exchange and transmission of clinical data.

Hybrid Record:

Describes a provider using a combination of paper and electronic medical records during the transition phase to EMR.


Internationally recognizable 3 to 5-digit code representing a medical diagnosis. Currently being replaced by the ICD-10 code.

the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


Term used when a person is a patient who is confined in a hospital setting .

Independent Physician Association or Independent Practice Association.

Legacy System:

Term used to describe an outdated system (usually hardware and software), ie. old medical billing software system.

"Meaningful Use" EMR: Functionality to be built into a EMR system to demonstrate its compliance and qualify for Federal Stimulus Funding.

Clinical documentation nomenclature designed to provide E&M level coding assistance to providers through the use of a extensive database for documenting patient encounters.

Metro Ethernet: a computer network that covers a metropolitan area and that is based on the Ethernet standard.


A popular drug formulary and alerts database.

National Provider Identifier (NPI):

A unique number assigned to healthcare providers. Currently required for insurance billing.

Office of the National Coordinator

Term used for a patient visiting a medical organization where the patient will not be required to stay for 1 or more nights under care .

Picture Archive Communication System (PACS):
Used by radiology and diagnostic imaging organizations to electronically manage information and images.

Patient Portal:
A secure web-based system that allows a patient to register for an appointment, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, send and receive secure patient-physician messages, view lab results, pay bills, and access physician directories.

Physician Practice Organization (PPO):

An arrangement between insurers and healthcare providers in which providers agree to a discounted fee-for-service in exchange for more patients.

PQRI: Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative. Contains 153 "points" of data that need to be collected and delivered for patient encounters.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks):

A way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks. Often used on servers to provide redundancy in the event of a hard drive failure.

REC/Regional Extension Center:
Will support and serve health care providers to help them quickly become adept and meaningful users of EMR systems. $537 Million provided to fund appx. 60 national RECs.

Remote Access:

The ability to access a network or computer via a protected passage from a remote location, e.g. from home or another practice location which allows an EMR vendor to perform off-site system maintenance.

SaaS: Software as a Service. Same as ASP.


(SNOMED CT) Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms. The medical language standard which details health care terminology, providing comprehensive coverage for procedures, diseases, and clinical data. SNOMED CT helps to structure and computerize the medical record while allowing for a consistent means of indexing, storing, retrieving and aggregating clinical data across sites of care (i.e. hospitals, doctors offices) and specialties. Snomed CT, in standardizing clinical vocabularly reduces the disparity resulting from the way data is captured, encoded and used for clinical care of patients and research. It allows for more accurate reporting of data and is currently available in English, Spanish and German.


Structured Query Language: A computer language aimed to store, manipulate and retrieve data stored in relational databases.

Stark Law:

Part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or 1989 the Stark Law prevents hospitals from purchasing EMR software and other equipment for private practice physicians in an effort to atract referrals.


Electronic exchange that links pharmacies and healthcare providers. Founded in 2001 by NACDS to make the prescribing process safer and more efficient.

T1, T3 line:

A high-speed internet connection provided via telephone lines often used by businesses needing internet connection speeds greater than DSL/Cable.

Terminal Services:

Microsoft's method for remote administration tasks that delivers the Windows desktop and Windows-based applications to nearly any personal computing device, even devices that can't run Windows.

Thin Client:

Also known as a Dummy Terminal; a network computer without a hard-drive which requires a constant connection to a server for operation.

UB-92 Form:

Form designed for hospitals to file a medical claim with the patient's insurance carrier.

Universal Exchange Language (UEL):

The healthcare data exchange standard that enables healthcare providers to share health information in real time, in order to modernize and coordinate diagnosis and treatment while incorporating privacy and security of personal data.


A network capable, multi-user operating system used for workstations and servers. Many old practice management, medical billing and EMR software were originally designed under the UNIX operating system.

UPIN (Unique Physician Identification Number):

Unique Identification number given to each healthcare provider. Frequently used in insurance billing and is currently being replaced by the NPI number.

Web-based EMR:

See ASP (Application Service Provider)


Stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and was designed to simplify the process of configuring security on wireless networks.

XML (Extensible Markup Language):

Used for defining data elements on a Web page and communication between two business systems. Example: Standard messaging system for and EMR to integrate with other software such as a practice management or drug formulary database.

EMR Resources





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