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.


When an ADR is generated, the claim will be found in status/location S B6001 in the Fiscal Intermediary Standard System (FISS) Direct Data Entry (DDE). You will not receive hardcopy ADRs for claims pending in this location.
Also see: ADR

With the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, an application with a single code base is hosted and provided as a service to multiple customer, securely over the internet. Similar to ASP model
Also see: ASP


The Standard Analytical Files (SAFs) contain information collected by Medicare to pay for health care services provided to a Medicare beneficiary. SAFs are available for each institutional (inpatient, outpatient, skilled nursing facility, hospice, or home health agency) and non-institutional (physician and durable medical equipment providers) claim type. The record unit of SAFs is the claim (some episodes of care may have more than one claim).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAS 70 (Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70) is an auditing guideline for assessing the internal controls of a service organization. Organizations with SAS 70 certificates have processes for protecting data entrusted to them. SAS 70 certificate holders meet HIPAA compliance standards.

SCOTUS, the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States. The Health Care Reform Act or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) was under review by SCOTUS. The U.S. Supreme court decides if Obamacare unconstitutional.SCOTUS, the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Standards Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

Secure Data Network (SDN)

U.S. Standards Development Organizations

Section 179 Deduction or Section 179 Depreciation Deduction helps small businesses by allowing them to take a depreciation deduction for certain assets (capital expenditures) in one year, rather than depreciating them over a longer period of time. Expenses related to electronic health record software adoption may qualify for Section 179 deduction


The Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) is a method currently used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States to control spending by Medicare on physician services

Shared eligibility service or

Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE), Inc.

State Level Health Information Exchange (SLHIE) Consensus Project

SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the program formerly known as
Also see: Food Stamps


Skilled nursing facility

NCPDP Strategic National Implementation Process (SNIP) deals with HIPAA telecommunication and transaction standards.

Subnetwork organization (SNO) - As used by Connecting for Health, "(a) SNO is any group of entities (regionally or non-regionally defined) that agree to communicate clinical data with one another using a single Record Locator Service (RLS), using shared policies and technological standards, and operating together under a single SNO-wide set of policies and contractual agreements. A SNO has two sets of interfaces, one internal, which binds its member entities together, and one external, which is where traffic to and from other SNOs and outside entities come from." From the publication, The Connecting for Health Common Framework: Technical Issues and Requirements for Implementation. for Health is a public-private collaborative of more than 100 organizations representing a diverse array of private, public, and not-for-profit groups.

Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED)

Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT). is a comprehensive clinical terminology, originally created by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). SNOMED-CT is now owned, maintained, and distributed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO).

Service Oriented Architecture SOA)

SOAP: Subjective, Objectiv, Assessment, Plan

  • Subjective: Information patient reports

  • Objective: Doctor's / health care provider's observation including results of tests ordered, vital signs and observations from examination.

  • Assessment: Diagnosis.

  • Plan: Steps that will be taken to treat the patient, including laboratory, radiological or diagnostic tests ordered, medication, therapies, surgeries and referrals to other specialist. It may also list long-term treatment plans and recommended changes to lifestyle.

Supply Processing and Distribution (SPD) uses CPT codes to create the specific case carts needed for surgeries

Speech Recognition software performs a transcription function. You talk and it types.

Speech recognition is a technology that converts spoken word to computer readable data. The terms “speech recognition” and “voice recognition” are often used interchangeably.
Also see: Dragon Naturally Speaking, Voice Recognition

Structured Query Language (SQL)

State and Regional Demonstration (SRD) contracts (AHRQ funded)

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of a message transmission on the Internet. SSL has recently been succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS).

see ARRA
Also see: ARRA, HITECH Act

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops

Sub-Acute Care - Usually described as a comprehensive inpatient program for those who have experienced a serious illness, injury, or disease, but who do not require intensive hospital services. The range of services considered sub-acute can include infusion therapy, respiratory care, cardiac services, wound care, rehabilitation services, post-operative recovery programs for knee and hip replacements, cancer, stroke, and AIDS care.

A superbill is a form used by medical practitioners and clinicians that can be quickly completed and submitted to an insurance company or employer for reimbursement. Superbills are normally customized for the medical practice. It contains patient information, the most common CPT codes / procedure codes and ICD codes / diagnostic codes used by the health care providers at that office.

Certifies e-Prescribing Systems

Syndromic Surveillance is the technique for identifying illness and unusual disease clusters early in order to mobilize a rapid response, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality. Transmission of syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies provides ability to track and monitor emerging outbreaks of illnesses such as influenza, SARS, HIV, and even bioterrorism.

Eligible providers may choose at least one of two public health objectives and measures from a menu set to meet the meaningful use requirements in Stage 1. Electronic transmission of syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies is one of the two mandatory menu HITECH Act meaningful use criteria.

Instead of the term syndromic surveillance,, there has been a movement towards other terms such as biosurveillance or disease surveillance.
Also see: Biosurveillance, Pandemic Surveillance

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