Glossary of Health Care and Medical Terms

In many cases,
You can click on the healthcare related term below to get a more in-depth description of that glossary term. On the extended definition page, you will be shown the longer description, plus a list of articles related to that term or topic.


Adopt, Implement or Upgrade Medicaid requirement. In year one, the HITECH Act Medicaid incentive payments will be paid for A/I/U or Adopt, Implement or Upgrade of an electronic health record system. In year two and beyond, Medicaid health care providers will have to meet meaningful use criteria in order to qualify for incentive payments.

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)


The Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) is a report given to Medicare beneficiaries to let the patient know Medicare is not likely to pay for certain services.

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. The abortion can be induced as a result of deliberate action by patient or spontaneous which is a natural loss or termination of pregnancy.


Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short.
Also see: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA

Accessioning is an ordered test or group of tests to be performed on a specimen. Or to log or document receiving a specimen in the lab.

Accountable care refers to structures, processes, and incentives aimed at improving the quality of care and the overall health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of healthcare.

On March 31, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed new rules to help doctors, hospitals, and other providers better coordinate care for Medicare patients through Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs create incentives for health care providers to work together to treat an individual patient across care settings – including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.

Accountable Care Organization (ACO) must meet certain legal requirements. Member physicians and hospitals will share in savings if their Medicare charges are sufficiently below some benchmark. See Patient Protection Act.Formalized by Dr. Elliott Fisher in 2006. CMS definition: An organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program who are assigned to it
Also see: ACO

Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) - see ASC X12

see Accountable Care Organization (ACO)
Also see: Accountable Care Organization

Physician, medical doctors, medical practitioner or health care provider in an Accountable Care Organization

American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

ACOG AR is the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Antepartum Record

Association of Clinical Research Organizations

Active Medication List

Dental Content Committee of the American Dental Association.

Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved


Additional Development Request (ADR) is a request for medical records for claims with status S B6001 and error code 39700 error code in Fiscal Intermediary Standard System (FISS) Direct Data Entry (DDE). If a claim is suspended for medical review, an ADR may be issued to obtain information needed to make a determination. Providers, physicians, and suppliers are responsible for providing the information needed to adjudicate their claims. If no response is received to the ADR within the specified timeframes, money will be withheld or claim denied.

Admissions-Discharge-Transfer (& usually Hospital Billing) System

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also know as Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Also see: Health Care Reform Bill, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA, ACA

see AHRQ

American Hospital Association

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity

American Health Information Community

American Health Information Management Association

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AHRQ provides funding for quality improvement, outcomes and comparative effectiveness and healthcare IT research. The agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. Formerly known as formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
Also see: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

AHRQ's National Resource Center (NRC) for Health IT supports the AHRQ's mission of developing and disseminating evidence and evidence-based tools on how health IT can improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency. The NRC supports the Office of the National Coordinator's (ONC's) "" site.
Also see: AHRQ, HITRC , NRC


Adopt, Implement or Upgrade (AIU or A/I/U)
Also see: A/I/U

Alert Fatigue occurs whe medical / clinical decision support systems overwhelm the doctor or clinician with too many alerts and reminders. Excessive alerts and reminders tend to be ignored.

Allergy: An exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful.

Average length of stay

Outpatient and other non-hospital care

Ambulatory Patient Classifications (APC) - A system used to classify outpatient and non-admission services and procedures for billing and reimbursements. Call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-633-4227 and request a free brochure.

Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems

The American Heart Association (AHA) is an organization dedicated to reducing death caused by heart disease and stroke

see ARRA
Also see: HITECH Act

American Medical Informatics Association

The Association of Medical Secretaries,Administrators and Receptionists

Alliance for Nursing Informatics

American National Standards Institute - a non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization activities

ANSI Claim Adjustment Codes convey reasons for adjustments on Electronic Remittance Advices (ERA)

Antepartum Record Profile (APR) is a set of documents or documentation related to Antepartum care. It includes ongoing Medical Diagnoses, the Estimated Due Date, outcomes of any prior pregnancies, serial visit data on the appropriate growth of the uterus and assessments of fetal well being, authorizations, laboratory and imaging studies

see Antepartum Record Profile

See Ambulatory Patient Classifications.


Advance Planning Document (APD): A document that a state presents to obtain
federal approval of the state

The Apgar score technique for assessing the health of newborn children using five simple criteria Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration. Technique was developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar

All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Group System (APR-DRG ). The All Patient DRGs (AP-DRGs) are an expansion of the basic DRGs to be more representative of non-Medicare populations such as pediatric patients. The All Patient Refined DRGs (APR-DRG) incorporate severity of illness subclasses into the AP-DRGs. Since the APR-DRGs include both the CMS DRGs and the AP-DRGs
Also see: DRG

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, also known as the Stimulus Bill or the Recovery Act. It spawned the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. See
Also see: HITECH Act


Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC)

ASC X12, chartered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), develops and maintains EDI, CICA and XML standards and schemas

American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration

Application Service Provider (ASP) model provides application hosting service to multiple customer, who have secured their own licenses to the applications. Similar to SaaS model

Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

ASTM International - originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials

Authorized Testing and Certification Body

Audit Trail and Node Authentication

Attestation is the process of applying for payment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) incentive program. Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals must use CMS' Web-based system to attest that you have met meaningful use criteria using Certified Electronic Health Record Software. See for more info.


Annual Wellness Visit (AWV)

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