Key Terms

Below you will find a list of commonly used health IT acronyms and below that are the definitions of some widely used terms.

Key Term Definition
CAH Critical Access Hospital
CCD Continuity of Care Document
CCR Continuity of Care Record
CDS Clinical Decision Support
CMS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
CPOE Computerized Physician Order Entry
CQM Clinical Quality Measure
EH Eligible Hospital
EHR Electronic Health Record
EP Eligible Professional
eRx e-Prescribing
HIE Health Information Exchange
HIO Health Information Organization
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
HITECH Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act
ONC Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
PCP Primary Care Provider
PHR Personal Health Record
UI User Interface
UPI Unique Patient Identifier

[/styled_table] For a more extensive list of health IT acronyms click here.

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) – A CAH is a designation essentially for small, rural hospitals assigned by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Read full definition of CAH qualifications on the CMS website.

Continuity of Care Document (CCD) – A CCD is an XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure and semantics of a patient summary clinical document for exchange. It provides a means for one health care practitioner, system, or setting to aggregate pertinent data about a patient and forward it to another practitioner, system or setting to support the continuity of care. View more information.

Clinical Decision Support (CDS) – CDS is a combination of computer tools or applications to assist health care providers during their clinical decision making by providing evidence-based knowledge in the context of patient specific data. Examples include drug interaction alerts at the time medication is prescribed and reminders for specific guideline-based interventions during the care of patients with chronic disease.

Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) – CPOE is a computer application that allows a physician’s orders for diagnostic and treatment services (such as medications, laboratory and other tests) to be entered electronically instead of being recorded on order sheets or prescription pads. The computer compares the order against standards for dosing, checks for allergies or interactions with other medications and warns the physician about potential problems.

Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) – CQMs are tools that help measure and track the quality of health care services provided by eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) within our health care system. These measures use data associated with providers’ ability to deliver high-quality care or relate to long term goals for quality health care. To find out more visit CMS.

Electronic Health Record (EHR) – An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. While an EHR does contain the medical and treatment histories of patients, an EHR system is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care.

Eligible Hospital (EH) – An eligible hospital (EH) is a hospital that qualifies for either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. To find out more about eligible hospitals visit the CMS website.

E-prescribing (eRx) – E-prescribing allows a provider to communicate directly and immediately with a patient’s pharmacy to send a prescription or a renewal request. It can provide additional patient safety by preventing adverse drug-drug and drug-allergy combinations and it also allows patients to receive prescriptions more quickly and without having to take a paper prescription to the pharmacy.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) – HIE is the secure sharing of patient health information among authorized providers. It is a process or action that can be facilitated by an organization, called a health information organization (HIO). Health information exchange can also include the secure sharing of patient health information directly between providers.

Health Information Organization (HIO) – An HIO is the organization that governs the exchange of information between unaffiliated organizations and providers.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule – stemming from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act enacted in 1996, the rule protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information; requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. The rule also gives patients’ rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.

Learn more from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The HIPAA Security Rule – stemming from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act enacted in 1996, the rule sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information and requires appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronic protected health information.

Learn more from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Interoperability– Interoperability describes the capacity of one health IT application to share information with another in a computable format (that is, for example, not simply by sharing a PDF (portable document file)).

Meaningful Use – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created the concept of Meaningful Use, which is the set of criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to receive Medicare and/or Medicaid EHR incentives.

Personal Health Record (PHR) – A PHR is an electronic application through which patients can maintain and manage their health information (and that of others for whom they are authorized) in a private, secure and confidential environment.

Unique Patient Identifier (UPI) – A UPI is information which identifies the patient and may consist of a set of personal characters by which that individual can be recognized. Unique Patient Identifier is the value assigned to an individual for identification purposes and is unique to that patient.