Access code Unique identifier generally provided by a name and password for the specific purpose of restricting computer or information system use to persons who have legitimate authority to view or use information found in the computer or information system.
Administrative information systems Systems that support patient care by managing financial and demographic information and providing reporting capabilities.
Aggregate data Data that are derived from large population groups.
Alphanumeric Numbers and alphabetic characters.
Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) Describes new reimbursement criteria for ambulatory procedures.
Antivirus software Set of computer programs capable of finding and eliminating viruses and other malicious programs from scanned disks, computers, and networks.
Application security Measures designed to protect a set of computer programs and the information that they create or store, such as timed or automatic signoff, which prevents unauthorized access by others when users forget to sign off the system.
Application service provider (ASP) Third-party entities that manage and distribute software-based services and solutions to customers across a wide area network from a central data center.
Application software Set of programs designed to accomplish a particular task.
Archetypes Re-usable clinical models of content and processes significant for an initiative to develop a life-long electronic record.
Architecture Structure of the central processing unit and its interrelated elements within an information system.
Arden Syntax Standard language used in the healthcare industry for writing rules.
Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) Component of the central processing unit that executes arithmetic instructions.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) High-speed data transmission method suitable for voice, data, image, text, and video information that use fiber or twisted pair. It is faster than ISDN, but less frequently used for reasons of cost, availability, and a lack of standards.
Attachments Files sent with e-mail messages.
Audit trail Electronic tool that can track system access by individual user, by user class, or by all persons who viewed a specific client record.
Authentication Action that verifies the authority of users to receive specified data.
Authoring tools Software programs that allow persons with little or no programming expertise to create instructional computer programs.
Automatic sign-off Mechanism that logs a user off the computer after a specific period of inactivity.
Backloaded Information that is preloaded into the system before the go-live date.
Backup procedure Creation of a second copy of files and information found on a computer, or information system, for the intent of restoring information in the event data are lost or damaged; or an alternative means to accomplish tasks normally done with an information system when that system is not available for some reason.
Backup systems Devices that create copies of system and data files.
Batch processing Manipulation of large amounts of data into meaningful applications at times when computer demands are lowest as a means to maintain system performance during peak utilization hours. Batch processed information is not available before processing and is little used today except to run reports.
Benchmarking Continual process of measuring services and practices against the toughest competitors in the industry.
Bennett Bill Although not passed into law, the Medical Records Confidentiality Act of 1995 was a significant piece of legislation because it attempted to establish the role of healthcare providers in the protection of client information; to fix conditions for the inspection, copying, and disclosure of protected information; and to institute legal protection for health-related information.
Binary code Series of 1s and 0s.
Binary file transfer (BFT) Set of instructions that represents another standard for file transfer.
Biometrics Unique, measurable characteristic or trait of a human being for automatically recognizing or verifying identity.
Bit Smallest unit of data that can be handled by the computer.
Bits per second (bps) Number of bits that can be transferred in 1 second of time.
Bliki A type of Web page that allows collaborative contributions and posts in reverse chronological order.
Blog Abbreviation for Web log.
Blu-ray High density optical disc format rival to HD-DVD.
Body Main portion of an e-mail message.
Browser Retrieval program that allows the user to search and access hypertext and hypermedia documents on the Web by using HTTP.
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) Originally an online service that offered computerized dial-in meetings and announcements, file sharing, and limited discussions. Now it may refer to a site used to post announcements.
Business continuity planning (BCP) Combines information technology and disaster recovery planning with business functions recovery planning.
Business impact assessment or analysis (BIA) Process of determining the critical functions of the organization and the information vital to maintain operations as well as the applications and databases, hardware, and communications facilities that use, house, or support this information.
Byte Eight bits makes up one byte.
Carpal tunnel syndrome Compression of median nerve as it passes through the wrist along the pathway to the hand resulting in sensory and motor changes to the thumb, index finger, third finger, and radial aspect of the ring finger.
CAPTCHAS Completely automatic public test to tell computers and humans apart.
Central processing unit (CPU) Electronic circuitry that executes computer instructions—reading stored programs one instruction at a time, keeping track of the execution, and directing other computer parts and input and output devices to perform required tasks.
Chief privacy officer (CPO) Individual responsible for the protection of personal health information of patients as required by federal law.
Client/server Distributed approach to computing where different computers work together to carry out a task. The computer that makes requests is known as the client, while the high-performance computer that contains requested files is known as the server.
Clinical data repository Database where information from many different information systems is stored and managed, allowing retrieval of elements without regard to their point of origin.
Clinical decision support Filtered expert information used to guide decisions for clinical care.
Clinical information analyst Person who synthesizes data and interprets its relationship to clinical interventions.
Clinical information systems (CIS) Large computerized database management systems used to access the patient data that are needed to plan, implement, and evaluate care. May also be known as patient care information systems.
Clinical liaisons Clinicians who represent the interests and needs of information system users.
Clinical pathway Suggested blueprint for patient care by diagnosis that includes specific interventions, desired outcomes, and even the projected length of stay of inpatient treatment.
Cold site Company that maintains electronic records and backup media in secure, climate-controlled storage so that information can be used to restore system capability in the event that information and/or system functionality have been lost.
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Healthcare accrediting body with focus on the improvement of rehabilitative services to people with disabilities and others in need of rehabilitation.
Community Health Information Network (CHIN) Organization that electronically links providers, payers, and purchasers of care for the exchange of financial, clinical, and administrative information via a wide area network in a particular geographic area. Precursor to RHIOs.
Compact discs (CDs) Older form of secondary storage.
Computational nursing Branch of nurmetrics that uses models and simulation to apply existing theory and numerical methods to new solutions for nursing problems.
Computer Electronic device that collects, processes, stores, retrieves, and provides information output under the direction of stored sequences of instructions known as computer programs.
Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) Use of a computer to organize and present instruction primarily for use by an individual learner.
Computer-based patient record (CPR) Automated patient record designed to enhance and support patient care through availability of complete and accurate data as well as bodies of knowledge and other aids to care providers.
Computer-based patient record system (CPRS) People, data, rules and procedures, and computer and communications equipment and support facilities that provide the mechanism by which patient records are created, used, stored, and retrieved.
Computer forensics Collection of electronic evidence for purposes of litigation and internal investigations.
Computer literacy Familiarity with the use of computers, including software tools word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation graphics, and e-mail.
Computer physician (or provider/prescriber) order entry (CPOE) Process by which the physician or provider directly enters orders for patient care into a hospital information system.
Computer viruses Malicious programs spread via computers that can disrupt or destroy data.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) Eye and vision problems that result from work done in close proximity such as computer work.
Confidentiality Tacit understanding that private information shared in a situation in which a relationship has been established for the purpose of treatment or delivery of services will remain protected.
Connectivity Process that allows individual users to communicate and share hardware, software, and information using technology such as modems and the Internet.
Consent Process by which an individual authorizes healthcare personnel to process his or her information based on an informed understanding of how this information will be used.
Consumer health informatics Use of electronic information and communication to improve medical outcomes and healthcare decision making from the patient/consumer perspective.
Contingency planning The process of ensuring the continuation of critical business services regardless of any event that may occur.
Continuity planning Essential component of strategic planning designed to maintain business operations.
Control Unit Manages instructions to other parts of the computer, including input and output devices.
Critical Pathway Approach used in automated nursing information systems for designing screens, generating reminders, and providing guideline interventions and documentation.
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT–4) Classification system that lists medical services and procedures performed by physicians and is used for physician billing and payer reimbursement.
Cybercrime Commonly refers to the ability to steal personal information stored on computers such as Social Security numbers.
Data Collection of numbers, characters, or facts that are gathered according to some perceived need for analysis and possibly action at a later point in time.
Database File structure that supports the storage of data in an organized fashion and allows data retrieval as meaningful information.
Database administrator (DBA) Person responsible for overseeing all activities related to maintaining a database and optimizing its use.
Data cleansing Use of software to improve the quality of data to ensure that it is accurate enough for use in data mining and warehousing.
Data collection tool Device created for the purpose of accumulating specific details in an organized fashion.
Data dictionary Tool that defines terms used in a system to ensure consistent understanding and application among all users in the institution. This process may also be achieved through the use of an interface engine.
Data exchange standards Set of agreed-on rules that permit the uniform capture and exchange of data between information systems from different vendors and between different healthcare providers.
Data integrity Ability to collect, store, and retrieve correct, complete, and current data so that the data are available to authorized users when needed.
Data management Process of controlling the storage, retrieval, and use of data to optimize accuracy and utility while safeguarding integrity.
Data mining Technique that looks for hidden patterns and relationships in large groups of data using software.
Data retrieval Process that allows the user to access previously collected and stored data.
Data scrubbing Same as data cleansing.
Data warehouse Provides a powerful method of managing and analyzing data.
Decision-support software Computer programs that organize information to aid choices related to patient care or administrative issues.
Desktop videoconferencing (DTV) Real-time encounter that uses a specially equipped personal computer with an Internet connection to allow face-to-face meetings or simultaneous viewing of the same images.
Digital cameras Means to capture and input still images without film.
Digital Image Communication in Medicine (DICOM) Standard that promotes the communication, storage, and integration of digital images with hospital information systems.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Type of Internet service available over telephone lines that offers greater speed and better connectivity than dial-up service.
Digital Versatile or Video Discs (DVDs) Secondary storage device.
Disaster planning Organized approach that anticipates potential problems, maintains security of client information under adverse conditions, and provides an alternative means to support the retrieval and processing of data in the event that the information system fails.
Disease management Multidisciplinary approach to identify patient populations with, or at risk for, specific medical conditions.
Distributed processing Use of a group of independent processors that contain the same information but may be at different sites as a means to maintain information services in the event of a power outage or other disaster.
Document imaging Scanning paper records for conversion to digital files for electronic storage and handling.
Downtime Period of time when an information system is not operational or available for use.
DSL modem Digital Subscriber Line modem.
E-business Refers to services, sales, and business conducted over the Internet.
E-care Broad term used to refer to the automation of all parts of the care delivery process across administrative, clinical, and departmental boundaries.
E-health Wide range of healthcare activities involving the electronic transfer of health-related information on the Internet.
E-learning The delivery of content and stimulation of learning primarily through the use of online telecommunication technologies such as blogs, podcasts, streamed video recorded videos, e-mail, bulletin board systems, electronic whiteboards, inter-relay chat, desktop video conferencing, and the World Wide Web.
Electronic communication Exchange of information through the use of computer equipment and software.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) Communication of data in binary code from one computer to another.
Electronic health record (EHR) Digital version of patient data found in the traditional paper record.
Electronic mail (e-mail) Use of computers to transmit messages to one or more persons. Delivery is almost instant, and attachment files may accompany text messages.
Electronic mail (e-mail) software Computer program that assists the user in sending, receiving, and managing e-mail messages.
Electronic medical record (EMR) Legal record created in hospitals and ambulatory settings of a single encounter or visit that is the source of data for the electronic health record.
Electronic performance support system (EPSS) An application designed to run at the same time as other applications that may supply information, present job aids, or deliver just-in-time training.
Electronic signature Means to authenticate a computer-generated document through a code or digital signature that is unique to each authorized system user.
Encryption Process that uses mathematical formulas to code messages when content needs to be kept secure and confidential.
E-prescribing Electronic transmission of drug prescriptions.
Ergonomics Scientific study of work and space, including details that impact productivity and health.
Error message Computer-generated text that warns the user when entries are missing or improperly constructed for processing. May appear on the monitor screen as data are entered or later via a paper printout.
Evidence-based practice Process by which nurses and other healthcare practitioners use the best available research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient preferences to make clinical decisions.
Expert systems Use of computer artificial intelligence to arrive at a decision that experts in the field would make.
External environment Includes those interested parties and competitors who are outside the healthcare institution.
Extranet Network outside the protected internal network of an organization that uses Internet software and communication protocols for electronic commerce and use by suppliers or customers.
Feature creep Uncontrolled addition of features or functions without regard to timelines or budget.
File Collection of related data stored and handled as a single entity by the computer.
File deletion software Overwrites files with meaningless information so that sensitive information cannot be accessed.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Set of instructions that controls both the physical transfer of data across a network and its appearance on the receiving end.
Firewall Type of gateway designed to protect private network resources from outside hackers, network damage, and theft or misuse of information.
Floppy drives Largely obsolete form of a secondary storage device.
Frames per second (FPS) Number of still images captured, transmitted, and displayed in one second of time in a video transmission. The higher the FPS, the smoother the picture. Also referred to as frame rate.
Freezing Situation in which a computer will not accept further input and does not process what has already been entered.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) Document or file, used by many World Wide Web sites, that serves to introduce the group or topic, update new users on recent discussions, and eliminate repetition of questions.
Function Task that may be performed manually or automated.
Gateway Combination of hardware and software used to connect local area networks with larger networks.
Gigahertz Represents 1 billion cycles per second in processor speed.
Goal Open-ended statement that describes what is to be accomplished in general terms, often used in the strategic planning process.
Go-live Date when an information system is first used, or the process of starting to use an information system.
Grand rounds Traditional teaching tool for healthcare professionals in training that involves reviewing a client’s case history and present condition inclusive of examination findings before a mutual determination of the best treatment options.
Graphical user interface (GUI) A set of menus, windows, and other standard screen devices that are intended to make using a computer as intuitive as possible.
Hard disk drive Provides storage for digital data.
Hardware Physical components of a computer.
Header Section at the top of an electronic mail message that tells who sent the message, when, to whom and at what location, and the address to which a reply should be directed if different from the sender’s address.
Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) Sharing of patient information such as demographic data, allergies, presenting complaint, diagnostic test values, and other relevant data between providers such as primary physicians, specialists, hospitals, and ambulatory care settings.
Healthcare information system (HIS) Computer hardware and software dedicated to the collection, storage, processing, retrieval, and communication of patient care information in a healthcare organization.
Healthcare information system analyst Person responsible for translating user needs into healthcare information system capability.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Also known as the Kennedy–Kassebaum Bill, it is the first federal legislation to protect automatic client records.
Health Level 7 (HL7) Standard for the exchange of clinical data between information systems by means of an extensive set of rules that apply to all data sent.
Help desk First line of user support within an organization. Support service, rather than a specific location, for computer users, often available 24 hours a day by calling a special telephone number. Help desk staff have an information system or computer background and are familiar with all of the software applications and hardware in use.
Helper program Computer application that supports a browser by providing added functionality and performs specific tasks.
High density optical disc format (HD-DVD) Secondary storage device.
Help screens Computer messages displayed on the monitor screen in response to a user’s request for assistance by pressing an identified key, or in response to an inappropriate entry by the user. Help screens provide specific directions that the user may follow to reach a desired outcome.
Homegrown software Developed by the consumer to meet specific needs usually because no suitable commercial package is available.
Home page First page seen at a particular Web location.
Hospital information system (HIS) Group of information systems used within a hospital or enterprise that support and enhance patient care. The HIS consists of two major types of information systems: clinical and administrative.
Hot site Facility located at a location separate from that of the healthcare provider and which replicates the provider’s information systems for the purpose of quickly restoring information system function in the event of a disaster or disruption to services.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Language or set of instructions that is frequently used to write home pages for the Internet, and includes text as well as special instructions known as tags for the display of text and other media. HTML also includes highlighted references to other documents that the user may choose if additional information about that topic is desired.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Transfer protocol used on Internet pages that establishes a TCP/IP connection between the client and server and sends a request in the form of a command when a link or hypertext is clicked with the mouse.
ID management Administrative area that deals with identifying individuals in a system and controlling their access to resources.
Informatics Science and art of turning data into information.
Informatics Nurse A nurse with advanced preparation in information management.
Informatics Nurse Specialist (INS) A nurse who has educational preparation to conduct informatics research and generate informatics theory.
Information Collection of data that have been interpreted and examined for patterns and structure.
Information literacy Ability to recognize when information is needed as well as the skills to find, evaluate, and use needed information effectively.
Information privacy Right to choose the conditions and the extent to which information and beliefs are shared with others. Informed consent for the release of medical records represents the application of information privacy.
Information security Protection of confidential information against threats to its integrity or inadvertent disclosure.
Information system Computer system that uses hardware and software to process data into information in order to solve a problem.
Information system security Protection of information systems and the information housed on them from unauthorized use or threats to integrity.
Information technology General term that refers to the management and processing of information with the assistance of computers.
Input devices Hardware that allows the user to put data into the computer, such as the keyboard, mouse, track ball, touch screen, light pen, microphone, barcode reader, Fax/modem card, joystick, and scanner.
Instant messaging (IM) Text-based real-time communication characterized by abbreviations that occurs via computers, cell phones, or other mobile devices.
Integrated services digital network (ISDN) High-speed data transmission technology that allows simultaneous, digital transfer of voice, video, and data over telephone lines but at higher speeds than available via dial-up or DSL connections.
Integrated video disk (IVD) Outdated technology that combined the interactivity, information management, and decision-making capability of computers with audiovisual capabilities of videodisk or tape to enhance computer learning.
Integration Process by which different information systems are able to exchange data in a fashion that is seamless to the end user.
Interface Computer program that tells two different systems how to exchange data.
Interface engine Software application that allows different computer systems to access and exchange information.
Internal environment Includes employees of the institution, as well as physicians and members of the board of directors.
International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP®) A system that serves to unify various approved nursing languages and classification systems to ensure the acceptance of common meanings across different settings.
International Classification of Disease (ICD–9/ICD–10) System for classification of surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures.
International standard H.320 Standard for passing audio and video data streams across networks, allowing videoconferencing systems from different manufacturers to communicate.
Internet Worldwide network that connects millions of computers linking governments, university and commercial institutions, and individual users.
Internet relay chat (IRC) Predominantly text-based, interactive form of communication available via the Internet.
Internet service provider (ISP) Company that furnishes Internet access for a fee.
Interoperability The ability of two entities, human or machine, to exchange and predictably use data or information while retaining the original meaning of that data.
Intranet Private computer network that uses Internet protocols and technologies, including Web browsers, servers, and languages, to facilitate collaborative data sharing.
JAVA Programming language that enables the display of moving text, animation, and musical excerpts on Web pages.
Jobs aids Written instructions designed as a reference in training and work settings.
Joint Photographic Experts Group Compression (JPEG) Standard for the compression of digital images for transmission and storage that is also used for diagnostic images.
Joystick Allows the user to control the movement of objects on the screen.
Keyboards Input devices with keys that represent those of a typewriter.
Kilobits (kbps) Data transfer in thousands of bits per second.
Knowledge Synthesis of information derived from several sources to produce a single concept or idea.
Knowledge discovery in databases Extraction of implicit, unknown, and potentially useful information from data.
Knowledge management Structured process for the generation, storage, distribution, and application of both tacit knowledge (personal experience) and explicit knowledge (evidence).
Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) Computer system for use by laboratories that provides many benefits as a result of automated order entry.
Laptop computer Streamlined, portable version of the personal computer.
Learning aids Materials intended to supplement or reinforce lecture or computer-based training. Examples may consist of outlines, diagrams, charts, and maps.
Legacy systems Mainframe vendor-based information systems.
Life cycle Well-defined process that describes the recurring process of developing and maintaining an information system.
Links Also known as hypertext, links are words, phrases, or images used on Internet pages distinguished from the remainder of the document through the use of highlighting or a different screen color that allow users to skip from point to point within or among documents, escaping conventional linear format.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Technology that uses two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them with each crystal either allowing light to pass through or blocking the light to display text or an image.
Listserv E-mail subscription list program that copies and distributes all e-mail messages to everyone who is a subscriber.
Live data Actual patient and healthcare system.
Local area networks Computers, printers, and other devices linked together to share resources and data within a defined area.
Macintosh computers (Macs) Computers developed by the Apple Corporation, said to be very user friendly.
Magnetic tape drive Secondary storage device used primarily with large mainframe computers.
Mainframes Large computers capable of processing large amounts of data quickly.
Main Memory Component of memory that is permanent and remains when power is off. Also known as read only memory (ROM).
Malware Term used to refer to destructive computer programs including viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses.
Mapping Process by which the definition of terms used in one information system are associated with comparable terms in another system, thereby facilitating the exchange of information from one system to another.
Master patient index (MPI) Database that lists all identifiers used in connection with one particular client in a healthcare alliance. Identifiers may include items such as Social Security number, birth date, and name.
Medical informatics Application of informatics to all of the healthcare disciplines as well as the practice of medicine.
Megahertz One megahertz represents 1 million signal voltage cycles per second in processor speed.
Memory Computer storage device in which programs reside during execution. It comprises main memory and random access memory.
Menu List of related commands that can be selected from a computer screen to accomplish a task.
Metadata Set of data that provides information about how, when, and by whom data are collected, formatted, and stored.
Microcomputer Personal computer that is either a stand-alone machine or is networked to other personal computers.
Microprocessor chip Electronic circuits of the CPU etched onto a silicon chip.
Minicomputer Scaled-down version of a mainframe.
Mission Purpose or reason for an organization’s existence, representing the fundamental and unique aspirations that differentiate it from others.
m-learning Popular term that denotes the use of mobile technologies, such as the mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), and iPod for learning purposes.
Mobile computing Devices that can be carried or wheeled from one location to another, often with the capability to transmit and receive information.
Modem Communication device that transmits data over telephone lines from one computer to another.
Monitor Screen that displays text and graphic images.
Monitoring systems Devices that automatically monitor biometrics measurements in critical care and specialty areas.
Motherboard Microprocessor chip that contains the electronic circuits of the CPU etched on a silicon chip, mounted on a board.
Mouse Device that can be moved around on the desktop to direct a pointer on the screen.
Multimedia Presentations that combine text, voice, or sound, and still or video images, as well as hardware and software that support the same.
Multiple function devices Combine functions such as printing, scanning, copying, and Fax.
The Net An alternate term to refer to the Internet, a worldwide network that connects millions of computers and serves to link government, university, commercial institutions, and individual users.
Netiquette Set of informal rules for polite communication via electronic means.
Network Combination of hardware and software that allows communication and electronic transfer of information between computers.
Network interface card Provides a physical connection between a computer and network.
News reader software Special browser program needed by individual users to read messages posted on the news group.
Notebook computer Streamlined portable version of the personal computer.
Nurmetrics Branch of nursing science that uses mathematics and statistics to test, estimate, and quantify nursing theories and solutions to problems.
Nursing informatics Use of information and computer technology to support all aspects of nursing practice.
Nursing information system Information system that supports the use and documentation of nursing processes and provides tools for managing the delivery of nursing care.
Nursing Minimum Data Set (NMDS) Consistent collection of data comprising nursing diagnosis, interventions, and outcomes that attempts to collect data that are comparable across different healthcare settings, to project trends, and to stimulate research.
Objective Statement that describes how a goal will be accomplished and the timeframe for this activity.
Offline storage Form of data storage that uses secondary storage devices for data that are needed less frequently, or for long-term data storage.
Off-the-shelf software Commercially available software in which someone else bore the cost for its development and testing.
Online Term indicating a connection to various computer resources, including information systems, the Internet, and the World Wide Web.
Online storage Form of data storage that provides access to current data. An example is a high-speed, hard disk drive.
Online tutorials Detailed instructions available to a user while he or she is using a computer, software application, or information system that show or tell how a particular software application or feature can be implemented.
Open architecture Protocols and technology that follow publicly accepted conventions and are employed by multiple vendors, so that various system components can work together.
Open system See open architecture.
Operating system Collection of programs that manage all of the computer’s activities.
Optical disk drives They write data to a recording surface media and read it later.
Order entry systems Method by which physician’s orders for medications and treatments are entered into the computer and directly transmitted to appropriate areas.
Output devices Hardware that allows the user to see processed data. Terminals or video monitor screens, printers, speakers, and Fax/modem boards are types of output devices.
Outsourcing Process in which an organization contracts with outside agencies for services.
Password Alphanumeric code required for access and use of some computers or information systems as a security measure against unauthorized use. Password does not appear on the monitor display when it is keyed in.
PC specialist Person who provides information and training on computers and software.
Peripheral Any piece of hardware attached to a computer.
Peripheral device interface cards Provide connection between equipment such as printers to the computer for the exchange of information.
Personal computer (PCs) Known as desktop computers. This category provides inexpensive processing power for an individual user.
Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card Provides added functionality such as memory to computers.
Personal digital assistants (PDAs) Specialized handheld devices used for calendar and address book functions, access to reference materials, and some input and transmission capabilities.
Personal Health Record (PHR) Lifelong tool for managing health information such as disease conditions, allergies, medications, past surgeries, and other relevant information.
Phishing Ruse to get consumers to divulge personal information through social engineering and technical subterfuge via the use of electronic communication.
Picture archiving communications systems (PACS) Storage systems that permit remote access to diagnostic images at times convenient to the physician.
Plug-in programs Computer applications that have been designed to support browsers by performing specific tasks.
Point-of-care devices Computer access at the actual worksite, which in the delivery of healthcare is at the patient’s bedside.
Point-to-point interface Interface that directly connects two information systems.
Portal Websites that may require registration, collect information from the user, and offer personalized features for individual users.
Printer Produces a paper copy of computer generated documents.
Privacy Freedom from intrusion or control over the exposure of self or personal information.
Production environment Point at which a planned information system is actually used to process and retrieve information and support the delivery of services.
Program Set of instructions that tell the computer what to do.
Programmers Persons who write the instructions that tell the computer what to do.
Programming languages Set of rules to create the instructions that direct computers to perform specific functions.
Project scope Defines the size and details of an effort.
Public key infrastructure (PKI) Provides a unique code for each user that is embedded into a storage device.
Qubit Measurement similar to the bit except that it allows for a superposition of both 1 and 0.
Radiology information system (RIS) Provides scheduling of diagnostic tests, communication of patient information, generation of patient instructions and preparation procedures, and file room management.
Random access memory (RAM) Component of memory that can be accessed, used, changed, and rewritten repeatedly while the computer is turned on.
Read-only memory (ROM) Component of memory that contains startup instructions for each time the computer is turned on. ROM is permanent and remains when power is off.
Real-time processing Entry and access to information occurs almost as soon as it is provided.
Redundant array of independent disks (RAID) Duplicate disks with mirror copies of data.
Refresh rate Term used to refer to the speed with which the screen is repainted from top to bottom.
Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) Regional exchange of health and treatment information of patients among healthcare organizations and providers for the collective good.
Relational database Type of database that relies upon the use of tables to represent data.
Remote access Ability to use the resources contained on a network, or an information system, from a location outside of the facility where it is physically located.
Remote backup service (RBS) Company that provides backup services for customers from an off-site location to an on-site location.
Repetitive motion disorders See repetitive stress injuries (RSIs).
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) Results from using the same muscle groups over and over again without rest.
Request for Information (RFI) A document sent to vendors that explains the institution’s plans for purchasing and installing an information system with the goal of determining which vendors can meet the organization’s basic requirements.
Request for Proposal (RFP) Document sent to vendors detailing the requirements of a potential information system with the purpose of soliciting proposals from vendors that describe their capabilities to meet these requirements.
Request for Quote (RFQ) Statement of need that focuses upon pricing, service levels, and contract terms.
Resolution Term used to refer to the sharpness, or clarity, of an image on a computer monitor. Resolution itself is determined by the number of pixels, or tiny dots or squares, displayed per inch on a monitor screen.
Response time Amount of time between a user action and the response from the information system.
Roll out Staggered, or rolling, system implementation, sometimes refers to the preceding marketing campaign as well.
Rule Predefined function that generates a clinical alert or reminder.
Sabotage Intentional destruction of computer equipment or records to disrupt services.
Scan The gathering of information from external and internal environments.
Scanner Input device that converts printed pages or graphic images into a file.
Scope Statement in an organization’s mission that defines the type of activities and services that it will perform.
Scope creep Unexpected and uncontrolled growth of user expectations as a project progresses.
Search engines Tool to help users find information on the World Wide Web. Each search engine maintains its own index or list of information on the Web and uses its own method of organizing topics.
Search engine unifier Programs that search servers and databases, such as the World Wide Web, and can shorten search time by looking at several search engines at one time, often yielding more comprehensive data in less time.
Search indexes Automated programs that search the Web when general information is requested.
Secondary storage Form of computer memory that retains data even when the computer is turned off. Examples include hard drives, CDs, DVDs, redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID), optical disks, and magnetic disks or tape.
Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) Protocol that allows passage of data through communication lines and is used to access the Internet and World Wide Web.
Server Any type of computer that stores files.
Smart card Storage device for patient information that resembles a plastic credit card. The card is kept by the client and presented to healthcare providers when services are rendered, eliminating redundant data entry and the need to store this information on a network.
Software Computer programs, or stored sequences of instructions to the computer.
Software shredder Set of computer programs that prevent recovery of deleted, or discarded, computer files by writing meaningless information over them.
Spam Unwanted or junk mail.
SPIM Unsolicited messages often containing a link to a Website that attempts to extract personal information.
Spyware Data collection mechanism that installs itself without the user’s permission during Web browsing or downloading software.
Spyware Detection Software Special software that can detect and eliminate spyware.
Standardized Nursing Languages (SNLs) Common set of terms that have been reviewed and accepted by the American Nurses Association.
Strategic planning Development of a comprehensive, long-range plan for guiding the activities and operations of an organization.
Strategy Comprehensive plan used by an organization that states how its mission, goals, and objectives will be achieved.
Structured data Data that follow a prescribed format, often presented as discrete data elements.
Supercomputers Largest, most expensive type of computers. They are complex systems that can perform billions of instructions every second.
Superuser Staff person who has become proficient in the use of the system and mentors others.
Survivability Capability of a system as a whole to fulfill its mission, in a timely manner, in the presence of attacks, failures, or accidents.
Switched multimegabit data service (SMDS) High-speed data transmission service that uses telephone lines, also known as a T1 line. SMDS is faster than ISDN but slower than ATM.
System check Mechanism provided by a computer system to assist users by prompting them to complete a task, verify information, or prevent entry of inappropriate information.
Systemized Nomenclature of Human and Veterinary Medicine (SNOMED) Classification system that includes signs and symptoms of disease, diagnoses, and procedures for the integration of all medical information in an electronic medical record.
T1 lines High-speed telephone lines that may be used to transmit high-quality, full-motion video at speeds up to 1.544 Mbps.
Tablet PC Smaller version of a notebook computer but can be carried like a clipboard that accepts text input via a stylet.
Tape drive Copies files from the computer to magnetic tape for storage or transfer to another machine.
Technical criteria Hardware and software requirements needed to attain a desired level of overall computer or information system performance.
Teleconferencing Use of computers, audio and video equipment, and communication links to provide interaction between two or more persons at two or more sites.
Telehealth Provision of information to healthcare providers and consumers and the delivery of services to clients at remote sites through the use of telecommunication and computer technology.
Telemedicine Use of telecommunication technologies and computers to provide medical information and services to clients at another site.
Telenursing Use of telecommunications and computer technology for the delivery of nursing care to clients at another location.
Terminal Monitor screen and a keyboard once used to input data and receive output from a mainframe computer, now rarely seen.
Test environment Separate software program like that used for the actual application or information system, which permits trial of programming changes prior to their implementation in the actual system, thereby protecting the real system from unwanted alterations.
Thin client technology Computing model that allows PCs to connect to a server using a highly efficient network connection.
TIGER Initiative Plan to promote informatics competencies among nurses in order to transform healthcare.
Touchpad Pressure and motion sensitive surface.
Trackball Contains a ball that the user rolls to move the on-screen pointer.
Training Common term used to refer to the introduction of information system skills to workers.
Training environment Separate software application that mirrors the actual information system but permits learners to practice skills without harm to the system or data contained in it. Makes use of fictitious clients and scenarios for instruction and practice.
Training hospital Collection of simulated, or fictitious, client data assembled and stored in a database separate from the actual information system for the purposes of instruction and practice. Incorporates most, if not all, features available on the actual information system.
Training plan Organized approach for the delivery of instruction that should include a philosophy; identification of instructional needs, approaches, and persons responsible for instructional design and delivery; a target date for completion; a budget; and methods for evaluation.
Unified Medical Language System Attempt to standardize terms used in healthcare delivery.
Uniform Hospital Data Set (UHDS) Most commonly used data set in the United States, even though it does not include data on nursing care and outcomes.
Uniform resource locator (URL) String of characters providing an address that identifies a document’s World Wide Web location and the type of server it resides on.
Unique patient identifier Single, universal identifier for client health information that ensures availability of all data associated with a particular client.
Unstructured data Data that do not follow a prescribed format such as that seen in narrative notes.
USB flash drives. Small portable storage devices that can be plugged into a computer, and then unplugged and transported.
Usenet news groups Popular Internet feature similar to listservs in content and diversity, with each newsgroup dedicated to a different topic, providing a forum where any user can post messages for discussion and reply.
User class Group of individuals who perform similar functions, and for the purpose of information system training and use, require instruction in how to access and use the same set of system features.
User interface What the user sees when interacting with a computer.
Utility programs Special applications designed to optimize computer operation and control of resident data.
Vendor Company or corporation that designs, develops, sells, and/or supports a product, which in the context of this book is generally a computer, peripheral device, and, more often, an entire information system.
Videoconferencing Face-to-face meeting of persons at separate locations through the use of telecommunications and computer technology.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) A system that uses the Internet to assist the educator in developing, managing, and administering educational materials for students.
Virus Malicious program that can disrupt or destroy data.
Web 2.0 An approach to Web design and development that seeks to foster creativity and collaboration through a variety of services such as blogs, wikis, and social networking sites.
Web-based instruction (WBI) Uses the attributes and resources of the World Wide Web, such as hypertext links and multimedia, for educational purposes.
Webcam Small camera used by a computer to send images over the Internet.
Webcast Format that allows multiple learners to access a Website.
Webmaster Person responsible for creating and maintaining a World Wide Web site.
Wide area networks (WANs) Large expansive network systems.
Wiki A type of Web page that allows collaborative contributions such as Wikipedia.
Wireless devices Provide the capability to receive and broadcast signals while in transit, sometimes referred to as mobile computing.
Wireless modem Communication device that sends and receives information via access points provided with a subscription to wireless service.
Wisdom Application of knowledge to manage and solve problems.
Work breakdown structure (WBS) Plan to develop the project timelines or schedule hierarchical arrangement of all specific tasks by using project-planning software.
World Wide Web (WWW) Information service for access to Internet resources by content instead of file names via a graphical user interface (GUI) that supports text, images, sound, and links to documents.
Zip drive Now obsolete form of a high-capacity floppy disk drive.