Medical Informatics4: A term being applied to a field, being described as a new discipline, which covers medical and related information, both in traditional and electronic form, along with its management, particularly by computer methods.  Included are the storage, retrieval, and use of the information (including, according to some authors, statistics).

Mental health centers*: A home, hospital, or institution for people who are mentally ill.

Mental Illness: A substantial disorder of though or mood which significantly impairs

judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality or cope with the ordinary demands of life and is manifested by substantial pain or disability.

Moral hazard*: A risk to an insurance company resulting from uncertainty about the honesty of the insured.


Naturopaths*: Person who practices naturopathy, a drugless system of therapy based on the use of natural remedies, such as sunlight supplemented with diet and massage, and physical forces such as heat, water, light, air and massage to treat illness.

Nursing home*: A convalescent home or private facility for the care of individuals who do not require hospitalization and who cannot be cared for at home.

Nutritionist*: An expert in nutrition who helps people with special dietary health needs. A registered dietitian (R.D.) has special qualifications in the nutritional field.


Objective*: A specific statement of a desired short-term condition or achievement; This includes measurable end results to be accomplished by specific teams or individuals within time limits.

Occupational medicine*: A branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of patients with occupational and environmental illness and/or injury.

Open Systems Theory: System that is a set of elements that interact with one another so that a change in any one of those elements brings about a corresponding alteration in other elements.  Open systems take in and export energy through interfaces with the environment so that units within the system are also affected by changes in other systems.

Organization: A collection of people working together in a planned deliberate social structure to achieve a common goal.

Organizational Behavior: Application of concepts and theories from the behavioral sciences to human behavior in organizations.  Also known as Organizational Theory.

Organizational Culture: The taken for granted values, underlying assumptions, expectations, and definitions present in an organization whose primary function is to provide meaning, stability, predictability, and comfort to an organization's participants through a process of shared learning that results in a common perspective.  The culture permits an organization to act on opportunities and challenges in a coherent and consistent manner.  In the context of healthcare, organizational culture is critical link between a healthcare organization's articulated strategy and attainment of its goals.

Organizational Learning: Process of improving actions of an organization through better knowledge and understanding, and detecting an correcting errors, thereby increasing an organization ability to take effective action.

Organizational Structure: The structure and/or hierarchy of an organization and how its component parts work together to achieve common goals.

Outpatient*: Patient who does not reside in the hospital where being treated.

Outouts*: Products, materials, services, or information provided to customers from a process.


Pacesetting Leadership Style: Style that is guided by the desire for high performance standards while maintaining a tight agenda.  Is the most effective among a group of a highly motivated and competent individuals who are in need of little direction.

Pareto Chart: A statistical method of measurement to identify the most important problems through various measurement scales, such as frequency or cost.  It directs attention and efforts to the most significant problems and is one of the tools of problem identification that is available to Quality Engineers.

PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act): A structured, cyclical methodology for developing and implementing actions of any type.  Plan for the action by collecting and analyzing data and developing alternatives; Do by implementing the selected alternative (preferably on a small scale); Study by evaluating results and comparing expected values; Act by standardizing action and/or starting over. When the term PDCA is used, the C refers to Check.

Peer review*: An examination and evaluation of the performance of a professional or technician by a board or committee made up of people in the same occupation.

Podiatry*: A branch of medicine concerned with the care and treatment of human feet in health and disease.

Poverty*: The condition of being without adequate food and money and is officially considered to be very poor and in need of help.

Premium (health insurance)*: The amount paid or payable, usually in regular installments, for an insurance policy. It is so called because it is paid primo, or before the contract shall take effect.

Prepaid health plan1: A health care plan in which the insurer agrees, for a fixed fee paid periodically in advance, to provide a specific array of services to the beneficiary.

Prepayment plan1: A contractual arrangement for health care in which a pre-negotiated payment is made in advance, covering a certain time period, and the provider agrees, for this payment, to furnish certain services to the beneficiary.

Prescription drugs*: A drug requiring a prescription, a physician's order.

Press Kit: Kit that contains brochures, newsletters and other information used in public relations efforts as well as contact information, press releases, and biographical sketches of key personnel.  Helps an organization to remain prepared and present a consistent image when conducting multiple media events.

Press Release: A brief news articles highlighting an important event, program, or piece of information by an organization that succinctly describes the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story. 

Prevention: A quality assurance strategy that attempts to identify and correct unacceptable or harmful services, products, or behaviors.

Preventive Action2: Action taken to remove or improve harmful behaviors or processes to prevent potential future occurrence.

Primary care2: The care by a primary care physician.  Care requiring more-specialized knowledge or skill is obtained by referral from the primary care physician to the specialist (secondary physician) for consultation or continued care.

Process*: A set of interrelated work activities characterized by a set of specific inputs and value-added tasks that produce a set of specific outputs.

Process Evaluation: A strategy that looks to improving, rethinking, or restructuring a

process in order to increase performance effectiveness. A key component of many public health programs, it helps generate timely refinements, guide future communication efforts, compare the quality of media coverage, and assess whether target audiences are being reached.

Process Map: A type of flowchart depicting the steps in a process, with identification of responsibility for each step and the key measures.

Process Reengineering:  A breakthrough approach directed toward major rethinking and restructuring of a process; often referred to as a "clean sheet of paper" approach.

Public health1: The organized efforts on the part of society to reduce disease and premature death, and the disability and discomfort produced by disease and other factors, such as injury or environmental hazards.

            Public health is also a branch of preventive medicine, a medical specialty.  Specialization in public health also occurs in engineering, nursing, nutrition, law, and other disciplines.

Public Health Advertising1: Advertising geared towards increasing awareness about public health issues and concerns.

Public Health Communications: The external communications of public relations, marketing, and media relations as it relates specifically to public health and public health organizations

Public Health Marketing:  Marketing that emphasizes public health to consumer or target audiences.  Usually it is concerned with intangible products such as modifying risk behavior, a new public health policy, or changing public policy.

Public Health Media Plan: Plan that helps an organization prepare for media attention while maintaining proactive media outreach, remain flexible in times of crises, and address new issues that arise over time.

Public Health Promotion: Advertising, public relations, special events, fundraising, and lobbying geared towards public health issues.  In the public health context, promotion is best achieved through localized resources such as grass-roots campaigns and community driven initiatives.

Public relations6: The efforts to communicate with the hospital’s audiences and constituencies and to enhance the hospital’s image.

Public Service Announcement (PSA): An announcement for which no charge is made and which promotes programs, activities, or services Federal, State, and Local Governments or the programs, activities or services of non-profit organizations and other announcements regarded as serving community interests.


Quality cost*: The cost incurred by an organization to ensure that customers’ requirements are met.

Quality Engineers: Those who define the quality improvement cycle and implement a quality improvement plan. Seven classic tools are available to quality engineers: Pareto Charts, Fishbone Diagrams, Histograms, Run Charts, Checksheets, Flowcharts, and Control Charts.

Quality improvement2: The process of developing a quality improvement plan linked to an organization's strategy, goals, and objectives in order to improve or increase the effectiveness of a program.

Quality plan*: A document or set of documents that describes the standards, quality practices, resources, and processes pertinent to a specific product, service, or project.

Quality tool*: An instrument or technique that is used to support and/or improve the activities of process quality management and improvement.

Quarantine*: The limitation on the freedom of movement of an individual, for a period of time, to prevent spread of a contagious disease to other members of a population.


Reengineering: A breakthrough approach involving restructuring an entire organization and its processes.  See also process reengineering.

Referral*: The act of recommending a person to someone, such as a medical professional, for a particular purpose.

Reinsurance*: 1) The acceptance by one or more insurers, called reinsurers, of a portion of the risk underwritten by another insurer who has contracted for the entire coverage; 2) The purchase of insurance by an insurance company from another insurance company (reinsurer) to provide it protection against large losses on cases it has already insured.

Relative value scale*: Coded listings of physician or other professional services using units that indicate the relative value of the various services they perform. They take into account time, skill, and overhead cost required for each service, but generally do not consider the relative cost-effectiveness. Appropriate conversion factors can be used to translate the abstract units of the relative value scales into dollar fees for each service based on work expended, practice costs, and training costs.

Risk Behavior: Engaging in behavior that is harmful or dangerous to ones self.

Run Chart: A chart showing a line connecting numerous data points collected from a process running over a period of time. Indicates variations and trends and the amount of change from one time period to another.


School health services*: Preventive health services provided for students, excluding college or university students.

Self-care*: Performance of activities or tasks traditionally performed by professional health care providers. The concept includes care of oneself or one's family and friends.

Skilled nursing care facility*: A type of nursing home recognized by the Medicare and Medicaid systems as meeting long term health care needs for individuals who have the potential to function independently after a limited period of care.

Sliding fee scale*: A variable scale according to which specified wages, prices, etc., fluctuate in response to changes in some other factor, standard, or conditions.

Social Marketing: Marketing that emphasizes that consumer or target audiences should be the focus of the planning, strategizing, and implementation of a marketing program.

Strategic Planning1: The process by which an organizations, public health or otherwise, envisions its future and develops strategies, goals, objectives, and action plans to achieve that future.

Supportive Behavior: Two-way communication in which the leader of an organization encourages interaction by the follower in the decision-making process.

System: A completely functioning process dependent upon many parts to create results where each part has a central purpose that is linked to the global goal of the entire system and achievement of that goal is contingent upon the interaction of the parts.


Tampering*: The act of adjusting a stable process to try to compensate for a result that is undesirable or to obtain a result that is extremely good.

Target Audience: See target market.

Target Market: The particular segment of a total population on which organizations focus their marketing plan in order to satisfy that submarket and meet an organizations profit or non-profit goals.

Teaching hospital*: A hospital that is affiliated with a medical school and provides the means for medical education to students, interns, residents, and sometimes postgraduates; hospital that also functions as a formal center of learning for the training of physicians, nurses, and allied health personnel.

Total Quality Management (TQM): The application of quality principles for the integration of all functions and processes of the organization to achieve the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction through continuous improvement.

Tree diagram*:  A management tool that depicts the hierarchy of tasks and subtasks needed to complete an objective.

Triage*: 1) The principle or practice of prioritizing patients in an emergency situation in which there are a great number of injured or ill; 2) The principle or practice of allocating limited resources, as of food or foreign aid, on a basis of practicality rather than according to moral principles or the needs of the recipients.


Unmet need*: Demands, desires, goals etc. that have not been dealt with or achieved.

Upper control limit*: The control limit for points above the centerline of a control chart.

Utilization Review1: The chapter giving the standards for this component of the hospital in the 1990 Accreditation Manual for Hospitals of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.


Vaccine4: A preparation which, when introduced into a human or other animal, stimulates the development of active immunity against specific infections.  Most vaccines are either (1) killed bacteria or viruses of strains which, when alive, are able to cause the disease in question, or (2) live bacteria or viruses of attenuated (weakened) strains of the disease-causing organism (closely related bacteria or viruses which are not able to cause the disease but produce passive immunity; passive immunity is the result of introduction into the body of prefabricated immune serum against the disease in question.

Validation*: The act of confirming that a product or service meets the requirements for which it was intended.

Value added*: The parts of a process that add worth from the perspective of the external customer.

Vital statistics*: Statistics concerning the important events in human life such as the number of births, deaths, marriages, migrations, etc within a population.

Voluntary hospital*: A non-profit hospital supported in part by voluntary contributions and under the control of a local, usually self-appointed, board of managers.


Walk-in patient*: A person who desires medical treatment, especially in a hospital, without an initial consultation by a health professional.

Ward patients*: Patients located in the same room or section of a hospital requiring similar kinds of care.

Welfare*: Aid in the form of money or necessities that are distributed those in need by a governmental agency or program.

Wellness Programs: Programs designed to promote healthcare wellness.  Health promotion, disease prevention, and general wellness form the basis of many wellness programs.  The programs commonly use behavior modification principles to promote positive changes in lifestyle and health behaviors.  Steps of a wellness program often include Assessment of expenditures, health status of an individual or group, and available resources; Planning and Implementation of the program; and Monitoring and Evaluation of the results of the program.

World Health Organization4: The division of the United Nations that is concerned with health.




Zero Balanced Reimbursement Account (ZEBRA)4: A type of health care benefit plan provided by employers who are self-insured and pay for the care as it is given. The ceiling under such a plan is typically “unlimited”.  The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that funds spent for a beneficiary under such a plan are taxable to the beneficiary, and that the employer is liable for withholding income tax on benefits, except for those benefits that are nontaxable under federal statutes.

Zero defects*: A long-range goal or concept that implies the need for never-ending improvement.

*Online Dictionaries used to Synthesize terms:


Main Web-site:


Source Language: English

Target Language:  Mono-lingual

Dictionary titles:        

            FindLaw: (Stanford University, CA)

   (New Providence, NJ)

   legal dictionary (San Francisco, CA)

            MedTerms: (California)

            Merriam W. (med): (Springfield, Massachusetts)

            MebMD Health: (Main location, Unknown)

OneLook: (Englewood, CO)

Web Dictionary: (Brussels, Belgium)

Wordnet: WordNet 1.7.1 (Princeton, NJ)

WordReference: (Atlanta, GA)

WordSmyth: (Main location, Unknown)


Dictionary Reference Citations Used in Above Dictionary Terms With the Use of Superscripts:


1 Vergil Slee et al; Slee’s Healthcare Terms; Third Edition, Tringa Press; St. Paul,

            Minnesota, 1996.


2 U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, A

            Discursive Dictionary of Healthcare, Feb 1976; Washington DC; U.S. government

            Printing Office.


3 Thomas Timmrek, Dictionary of Health Service Management, Second Edition; Rynd

            Corp. Owings Mills, Maryland, 1987.


4 American Association of Medical Records Librarians, Glossary of Hospital Terms,

            Chicago, Illinois, 1969.


5  Stanley Jablonski, Dictionary of Medical Acronyms and Abbreviations, 4th Edition;

            Hanley and Belfus, Inc. Philadelphia, PA, 2001.


6  Merriams-Webster’s Medical Dictionary; Merriam-Webster, Inc. Springfield, Mass.



7  Webster’s New World Medical Dictionary, Mitz Waltz, IDG Books World Wide, Inc,

            Foster City, CA; 2000.