Glossary of Terms

The world of health care is full of acronyms and unfamiliar terms, here’s a guide to figure them out. This page will continue to grow as our research matures; please check back often for more resources. Is there a word you’d like to see defined? Submit it below!

Affordable Care Act (ACA): Federal healthcare law designed to transform hospitals and primary physicians financially, technologically, and clinically to create better health outcomes (source).

Alternative Payment Methodology (APM)A method of reimbursing Community Health Centers that converts the prospective payment system to a capitated equivalent.

Capitation: Reimburses physicians or Community Health Centers a set amount for each enrolled person assigned to them, per period of time, whether or not that person seeks care (source). 

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Program that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Some states cover pregnant women and parents (source).

Clinical Data Research Network (CDRN): Networks comprised of health systems (hospitals, health plans, etc.) who partner to conduct research.

Clinical Effectiveness Research Program (CER): PCORI program that funds and manages research initiatives examining the outcomes of two or more healthcare options already shown to be effective so that patients can make the best decision for their healthcare needs.

Collaborative for Health Technology in Oregon (CHITO): Multi-stakeholder group created to align and improve the planning, execution, utility, and efficiency of HIT around data and analytics in Oregon (source).

Collaborative Research Group (CRG): Collaborative group consisting of researchers with overlapping interests who work together to develop aspects of their research programs.

Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN): Research collaboration between Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Alliance of Chicago, Fenway Health, OCHIN, and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization (AAPCHO) (source).

Community Health Center (CHC): Neighborhood health centers generally serving uninsured, underinsured, low-income populations or those living in areas where little access to primary health care is available. CHCs are largely federally and locally funded. CHCs are sometimes referred to as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or Safety-Net clinics (source).

Community Vital Signs (CVS): Social factors including neighborhood socioeconomic and environmental conditions, population density, ethnic components, etc.

Coordinated Care Organization (CCO): A network of health care providers who have agreed to work together in their local communities for people who receive health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) (source). 

Electronic Health Record:  Longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports (source). 

Enabling Services: Non-clinical services that support the delivery of basic health services and facilitate access to comprehensive patient care as well as social services. They include case management, benefit counseling or eligibility assistance, health education and supportive counseling, interpretation, outreach, transportation and education of patients and the community regarding the availability and appropriate use of health services (source). 

Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC): Federally Qualified Health Centers are organizations receiving enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. They serve underserved areas and populations and offer a sliding fee scale while providing comprehensive services (source).

Federal Poverty Level (FPL): A measure of income level issued annually by the Department of Health and Human Services (source).

Fee-for-Service: Health care providers are paid for each service they provide, for example  an office visit, test, or procedure (source). 

Health Information Technology (HIT): Information technology used for health and healthcare.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Government agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services that works to improve health, specifically to populations that are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable (source).

Meaningful Use: The use of certified EHR to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. Also used to engage patients and family, improve care coordination and population/population health, and maintain privacy and security of patient health information.

Mini-Sentinel Common Data Model (MSCDM): A pilot program created by the FDA to create an active surveillance system using electronic health data for 25 million people by 2010 and 100 million people by 2012.

National Institute on Aging (NIA): Agency within the NIH that conducts research on the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of the aging process (source).

National Institutes of Health (NIH): Governmental agency dedicated to improving healthcare through conducting its own scientific research and providing grant funding to non-NIH facilities (source).

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD): Agency within NIH that leads scientific research to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities (source).

Oregon Health Authority (OHA): State agency overseeing healthcare in Oregon (source).

Oregon Health Plan (OHP): Oregon’s state Medicaid program (source).

Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA): Non-profit membership organization that includes all of 33 of Oregon’s community health centers (source).

Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH): Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes are clinics that have been recognized for their commitment to quality, coordinated care. At its heart, this model of care fosters strong relationships with patients and their families. Clinics improve care by catching problems earlier, focusing on prevention, wellness and management of chronic conditions (source).

Patient Centered Outcomes (PCO): Outcomes from medical care that are important to patients.

Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI): Independent non-profit organization who fund comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and supports improving methods used to conduct studies (source).

Patient Powered Research Network (PPRN): Network comprised of patient groups and their partners focused on particular conditions (source).

Patient Touches: An interaction between a patient and their health care provider that is not necessarily occurring during an office visit. Examples include phone calls, email or communication through a personal health portal.

Per Member Per Month: The amount paid to a provider each month from a care organization for each person the provider provides services for.

Prospective Payment System:  Method of reimbursement in which Medicare payment is made based on a predetermined, fixed amount (source).

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)

Social Determinants of Health: The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels (source).

Uniform Data System (UDS): Core system of information appropriate for reviewing the operation and performance of health centers. UDS is a reporting requirement for the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grantees. Data is used to improve health center performance and operation and to identify trends over time; UDS data are compared with national data to review differences between the US population at large and those individuals and families who rely on the health care safety net for primary care (source).

Value Based Care: Incentives and rewards quality of quantity and enables practices to invest in infrastructure and supports (e.g., extended office hours and increased communication between providers and patients via email and telephone) (source).