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Tools & Resources

Glossary

Health IT Terms

Glossary of Selected Terms Related to Health IT

Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) – 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.

Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) Initiative – One of the 24 Presidential eGovernment initiatives with the goal of adopting vocabulary and messaging standards to facilitate communication of clinical information across the federal health enterprise. CHI now falls under FHA.

Decision-Support System (DSS) - Computer tools or applications to assist physicians in clinical decisions 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. Information should be presented in a patient-centric view of individual care and also in a population or aggregate view to support population management and quality improvement.

Electronic Health Record (EHR) – A real-time patient health record with access to evidence-based decision support tools that can be used to aid clinicians in decision making. The EHR can automate and streamline a clinician's workflow, ensuring that all clinical information is communicated. It can also prevent delays in response that result in gaps in care. The EHR can also support the collection of data for uses other than clinical care, such as billing, quality management, outcome reporting, and public health disease surveillance and reporting.

Electronic Prescribing (eRx) – A type of computer technology whereby physicians use handheld or personal computer devices to review drug and formulary coverage and to transmit prescriptions to a printer or to a local pharmacy. E-prescribing software can be integrated into existing clinical information systems to allow physician access to patient specific information to screen for drug interactions and allergies.

Enterprise Architecture – A strategic resource that aligns business and technology, leverages shared assets, builds internal and external partnerships, and optimizes the value of information technology services.

Federal Health Architecture (FHA) – A collaborative body composed of several federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Energy (DOE). FHA provides a framework for linking health business processes to technology solutions and standards and for demonstrating how these solutions achieve improved health performance outcomes.

Health Information Technology (HIT) – The application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.

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