Healthcare Glossary



Academic Medical Center (AMC): A partnership uniting a medical school, a hospital, and physician groups for the purpose of educating and training medical students, as well as conducting research.

Accountable Care Organization (ACO): Groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.

Accountable Health Plan (AHP): Under the Managed Competition Act, providers and insurance companies would
be encouraged (through tax incentives) to form AHPs,
similar to HMOs, PPOs, and other group practices. AHPs would compete on the basis of offering high-quality, low-cost care and would offer insurance and healthcare as a single product. They would be responsible for looking after the total health of members and reporting medical outcomes in accordance with federal guidelines.

Accreditation: Hospital accreditation is a self-assessment and external peer assessment process used by healthcare organizations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve. Hospitals pursue accreditation because it is required in order for their organizations to receive payment from federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. Approximately 77% of the nation's hospitals are currently accredited, and of those, approximately 88% are accredited by The Joint Commission.

Acute Care: A pattern of healthcare in which a patient is treated for an acute (immediate and severe) episode of illness; for the subsequent treatment of injuries related to an accident or other trauma; or during recovery from surgery. Acute care is usually delivered in a hospital setting by specialized personnel using complex and sophisticated technical equipment and materials. Unlike chronic care, acute care is usually only delivered over a short time span of 30 days or less.

Advanced Console Server (ACS): Secure, remote access to any device with a serial port via telnet or SSH.

Air Handler Unit (AHU): A device used to regulate and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.
Airflow Management (AFM): The practice of managing air flow through a facility in order to attain maximum efficiency and effectiveness of airflow systems.

Airside Economizer: An economizer that directs exterior air into the data center when the air temperature is at or below the cooling set-point.
Alternate Delivery Systems: Health services provided in other than an inpatient, acute-care hospital or private practice. Examples within general health services include skilled and intermediary nursing facilities, hospice programs, and home healthcare. Alternate delivery systems are designed to provide needed services in a more cost-effective manner.

Ambulatory Care: Ambulatory care or outpatient care is medical care provided on an outpatient basis, including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services. This care can include advanced medical technology and procedures even when provided outside of hospitals.

Ambulatory Setting: A type of healthcare setting where health services are provided on an outpatient basis. Ambulatory settings usually include physicians' offices, clinics, and surgery centers.

American Accreditation Health Care Commission (AAHCC): AAHCC accreditation is an important quality "seal of approval" for provider networks and managed care organizations. Gaining accreditation requires meeting standards for confidentiality, staff qualifications and credentials, program qualifications, quality improvement programs, accessibility and on-site review procedures, information requirements, utilization review procedures and appeals.

American Hospital Association (AHA): Founded in 1898, the AHA is a national organization that provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends. Through representation and advocacy activities, AHA ensures that members' perspectives and needs are heard and addressed in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends.

American Society for Healthcare Engineers (ASHE): Association for healthcare facility managers, engineers and other professionals dedicated to optimizing the healthcare physical environment.

Ancillary Services: Supplemental services, including laboratory, radiology, physical therapy and inhalation therapy that are provided in conjunction with medical or hospital care.

Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ): The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) is that person or office charged with enforcing the Life Safety Code. In many states the AHJ is the state fire marshal who has local inspectors work on his/her behalf. For some occupancies, there is more than one AHJ; each AHJ’s approval must be secured. For example, the AHJ's for a hospital might include: state fire marshal; building official; fire department fire prevention officer; state health care licensing agency; The Joint Commission; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and the facility’s insurance carrier.

Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): A transfer switch is an electrical switch that switches a load between two sources. This is a critical component of any emergency or standby power system.


Behavioral Healthcare: Treatment of mental health and/or substance abuse disorders.

Blockchain: A decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks. Potential applications for healthcare being evaluated include the use of blockchain to improve the accuracy of healthcare provider directories and lower the cost of keeping that information up to date by sharing the data and workload.

Building Automation System (BAS): The automatic centralized control of a building's heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and other systems through a building management system or building automation system.



Center for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP): Established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to strengthen bioterrorism and emergency preparedness linking academic expertise to state and local health agency needs.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): A federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides health coverage to more than 100 million people. CMS seeks to strengthen and modernize the Nation's healthcare system providing access to high quality care and improved health at lower costs.

Centers of Excellence: A network of healthcare facilities selected for specific services based on criteria such as experience, outcomes, efficiency, and effectiveness. An example might include an organ transplant managed care program wherein members access selected types of benefits through a specific network of medical centers.

Clinical Information System (CIS): A platform that allows healthcare providers and administrators collect, store, manage and retrieve clinical information and patient data.

Cold Aisle: An aisle where rack fronts face into the aisle. Chilled airflow is directed into this aisle so that it can enter the fronts of the racks in a highly efficient manner.

Cold Aisle Containment (CAC): The practice of isolating the cold aisle of a row from mixing with other airflow through a data center. Used to improve efficiency of a building's cooling infrastructure.

Computer-Based Patient Record (CPR): A term for the process of replacing the traditional paper-based chart through automated electronic means; generally includes the collection of patient-specific information from various supplemental treatment systems.

Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC): (Pronounced “crack”) Uses a compressor to mechanically cool air.

Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH): (Pronounced “craah”) Uses chilled water to cool air.

Critical Access Hospital: Critical Access Hospital is a designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The federal program aims to offer small hospitals in rural areas to serve residents that would otherwise be a long distance from emergency care.



Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE): A measure that is calculated by dividing the IT equipment power consumption by the power consumption of the entire data center. The inverse of this measure is PUE.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM): Comprises software tools for discovering, monitoring and controlling assets forming a data center; includes both power and computing resources.

Department of Health (DoH): A U.S. government department which focuses on issues related to the general health of its citizens.

Department of Labor (DoL): A U.S. government department responsible for setting national labor standards, labor dispute mechanisms, employment, workforce participation, training and social security.

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM): A standard for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information in medical imaging. It includes a file format definition and a network communications protocol. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) holds the copyright to this standard.

Direct Expansion (DX): Air conditioning unit, also called a DX unit, which directly cools the air supplied to the building using a condensed refrigerant liquid.

Distributed Antenna System (DAS): A network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure.

DSView: Brower-based software enabling management of remote devices through secure connection. Gives access/control to servers, blades, virtual machines, network equipment, serial consoles and power strips.



Electronic Health Record (EHR): 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.

Electronic Medical Record (EMR): A narrower view of a patient's medical history used by providers for diagnosis and treatment and are not designed to be shared outside the individual practice.

Emergency Care and Hospital Operations (ECHO): Same as Emergency Operations Plan 

Emergency Department / Emergency Room (ED / ER): A section of an institution that is staffed and equipped to provide rapid and varied emergency care, especially for those stricken with sudden and acute illness or the victims
of severe trauma.

Emergency Operations Plan (EOP): Provides the structure and processes that the organization uses to respond to and initially recover from an event. The EOP is the response and recovery component of the Emergency Management Program (EMP).

Emergency Power Facility Assessment Tool (EFPAT): A secure web-based tool that can be used by critical public facility owners/operators, or emergency response agencies, to input, store, update and/or view temporary emergency power assessment data.

Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS): An independent source of electrical power that supports important electrical systems on loss of normal power supply. A standby power system may include a standby generator, batteries and other apparatus.

Energy Star®: The ENERGY STAR program was established by the EPA in 1992, under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g). Within healthcare, the ENERGY STAR Score for Hospitals applies to general medical and surgical hospitals, including critical access hospitals and children’s hospitals. The objective of the ENERGY STAR score is to provide a fair assessment of the energy performance of a property relative to its peers, taking into account the climate, weather, and business activities at the property. To identify the aspects of building activity that are significant drivers of energy use and then normalize for those factors, a statistical analysis of the peer building population is performed. The result of this analysis is an equation that will predict the energy use of
a property, based on its experienced business activities. The energy use prediction for a building is compared to its actual energy use to yield a 1 to 100 percentile ranking of performance, relative to the national population.

Environet™: Infrastructure management software by Vertiv™ Geist™ provides visibility, access and management through a holistic view of your facility’s environment, power consumption and cooling.

Environment of Care (EOC): Refers to any site where patients are treated, including inpatient and outpatient settings. The main objective of the EOC is to provide a safe, functional and effective environment for patients, staff members, and others.

Essential Electrical System (EES): Important electrical circuits in a healthcare facility that must be powered at all times. These circuits are required to be treated differently and even separated from other circuits that are not absolutely necessary during a power failure.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): A managed care plan where services are covered only if you go to doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the plan's network (except in an emergency).

Extended Care Facility (ECF): An institution devoted to providing medical, nursing, or custodial care for an individual over a prolonged period, such as during the course of a chronic disease or the rehabilitation phase after an acute illness.



Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI): A nonprofit organization that works to develop guidelines for designing and building hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR): A draft standard describing data formats and elements (known as resources) and an application programming interface (API) for exchanging electronic health records.

Fellow American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE): Earning the distinction of board certification in healthcare management signifies expertise, experience and commitment to continuing education and professional  development.

Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center (FASC): Medical facilities that specialize in elective same-day or outpatient surgical procedures. They do not offer emergency care.

Full Time Equivalent (FTE): The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The concept is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. On an annual basis, an FTE is considered to be 2,080 calculated at 8 hours per day.



General Services Administration (GSA): An independent agency of the US government manages federal property and provides contracting options for government agencies.



Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA): A process for identifying the hospital's highest vulnerabilities to natural and man-made hazards and the direct and indirect effect these hazards may have on the hospital and community. It provides the hospital with a basis for determining the most likely standards and potential demands on emergency and other services that could occur during a crisis so that effective preventive measures can be taken and coordinated disaster response plan can be developed.

Health Care Reform Act (HCRA): A law that requires most insurance plans to cover a set of recommended preventive services at no extra cost.

Health Information Exchange (HIE): Health information exchange is the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a region, community or hospital system. In practice the term HIE may also refer to the organization that facilitates the exchange.

Health Information Management (HIM): The practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to provide quality patient care.

Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS): A global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information and technology leading efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information and technology.

Health Information Service Provider (HISP): An organization that manages security and transport for health information exchange among healthcare entities or individuals using the Direct standard for transport.

Health Information Technology (HIT): Information technology applied to health and healthcare. It supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors.

Health Information Technology Evaluation Collaborative (HITEC): A multi-institutional, academic collaborative, it serves in a research and evaluative role with respect to health information technology initiatives in New York State. It was formed to evaluate and develop evaluation instruments for health information exchange initiatives across the state, while integrating a variety of stakeholders, including providers, payers, employers, foundations, the federal government,
RHIOs, and vendors.
Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH): Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It was created to motivate the implementation of electronic health records and supporting technology in the United States.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): A US legislation that provides data privacy, and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. It gives patients more control of their health information. It sets boundaries on the use and release of health records. It established safeguards that healthcare providers and others must achieve to protect the privacy of health information. It holds violators accountable, with civil and criminal penalties that can be imposed if they violate patients' privacy rights.
And it strikes a balance when public responsibility supports disclosure of some forms of data - for example, to protect public health.
Health Level Seven (HL7): Health Level Seven or HL7 refers to a set of international standards for transfer of clinical and administrative data between software applications used by various healthcare providers. HL7 International specifies a number of flexible standards, guidelines, and methodologies by which various healthcare systems can communicate with each other (interoperability).
Health Management Information System (HMIS): A data collection system specifically designed to support planning, management, and decision making in health facilities and organizations. An efficient and effective HMIS is critical to both the healthcare system and to people's health by providing the system and data central for policy planning, setting of targets and policy implementation.
Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS®): A widely used set of performance measures in the managed care industry, developed and maintained by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Health Related Facility (HRF): Places that provide healthcare. They include hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers, and specialized care centers, such as birthing and psychiatric care.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):
An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.
Health Technologies : This term encompass all the devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems designed to streamline healthcare operations, lower costs and enhance quality of care. Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, voice search, chatbots and virtual reality (VR) are among the most promising health technologies.
Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB): Established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to combat fraud and abuse in health insurance and healthcare delivery.
Heat Exchanger: A device used to transfer heat energy, typically used for removing heat from a chilled liquid system.
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS): A patient satisfaction survey required by CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for all hospitals in the U.S. The survey is for adult inpatients, excluding psychiatric patients.
Hospital Emergency Response Data System (HERDS):
A statewide electronic web-based data collection system linked to healthcare facilities (all New York state hospitals) through a secure internet site that allows hospitals to relay resources or needs to the Department of Health during emergencies, or respond immediately to rapid request surveys in preparedness planning efforts.
Hospital Information Systems (HIS): Provides a common source of information about a patient's health history.
The system has to keep data in a secure place and controls who can reach the data in certain circumstances.
Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (HIQRP): This initiative requires hospitals to submit data for specific quality measures for health conditions common among people with Medicare, and which typically result in hospitalization. Hospitals that do not participate in HIQRP receive a reduction in their Medicare annual inpatient payment update.
Hospital Network: Network is a group of hospitals, physicians, other providers, insurers and/or community agencies that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. Network participation does not preclude system affiliation.
Hospital Outpatient Department (HOPD): An outpatient department or outpatient clinic is the part of a hospital designed for the treatment of outpatients, people with health problems who visit the hospital for diagnosis or treatment, but do not at this time require a bed or to be admitted for overnight care.
Hospital System: System is defined by AHA as either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system.
A multihospital system is two or more hospitals owned,
leased, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization. Single, freestanding hospitals may be categorized as a system by bringing into membership three or more, and at least 25 percent, of their owned or leased non-hospital pre-acute or post-acute health care organizations.
System affiliation does not preclude network participation.
Hot Aisle: An aisle where rack backs face into the aisle. Heated exhaust air from the equipment in the racks enters this aisle and is then directed to the CRAC return vents.
Hot Aisle Containment (HAC): System that directs heated air from the outlet side of the racks to the air conditioning equipment return ducts in a highly efficient manner.


Language & Location