Health Informatics Glossary
A Certificate Authority (CA) is an independent organization or agency that
issues, verifies and stores public and private encryption keys as digital
certificates. Also called a Certification Authority, both terms are
The Cancer Bioinformatics Grid (caBIG) project was launched in 2004 by the
National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of
the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2012 the caBIG project was wound
down and the National Cancer
Informatics Program (NCIP) was launched as a successor to caBIG.
California eHealth Collaborative was a
nonprofit organization established in California in 2009 to help coordinate
e-Health activities in the state. CAeHC produced informational webinars and
provided community context to expedite informed statewide collaboration in
the deployment of decentralized HIE services. In 2010 CAeHC formally and
openly opposed the centralization of HIE services proposed by CalRHIO. In
the ensuing public debate CAeHC blocked the CalRHIO centralization agenda.
Critical Access Hospital.
California Association of Health Information
California Immunization Registry.
Cal eConnect -
A so-called "HIE Governance Entity" formed in 2010 by CHHS to achieve a
conceptual merger of the CAeCH (decentralized) and CalRHIO (centralized)
approaches to statewide health data interoperability. Structurally, Cal
eConnect was an independent NGO contracted by CHHS to provide governance and
operational oversight for the federal ARRA investments by ONC to establish
statewide HIE services in California. In 2012 CHHS cancelled the "governance
entity" contract with Cal eConnect and signed a new contract with IPHI for
the remaining 18 months of the CHHS cooperative agreement with ONC.
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California Health Information Partnership
and Services Organization, was one of the 62 Regional Extension Centers
(REC) established by ARRA funding. In 2014 CalHIPSO will be wound down and
California eHealth Collaborative -
California Endowment -
The California Endowment is a
private, statewide health foundation that was created in 1996 as a
result of Blue Cross of California's creation of WellPoint Health
Networks, a for-profit corporation. This conversion set the groundwork
for The California Endowment's mission: to expand access to affordable,
quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to
promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all
California Health eQuality -
California HealthCare Foundation -
The California Office of Health Information
Integrity is part of CHHS. See
The California Privacy and Security Advisory Board was launched by CHHS in
2007 as part of the HISPC contract. CalPSAB was disbanded as a cost cutting
measure on June 30, 2011, along with many other state boards and commissions.
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The applicant for a statewide Regional Extension Center (REC) contract that
was later rebranded as CalHIPSO. See
Reportable Disease Information Exchange
California Regional Health Information Organization. Launched in 2005 to
centralize all health information exchange activity in California in a single
statewide entity. When this did not happen CalRHIO was closed in 2010 as part
of the launch of Cal eConnect. See
College of American Pathologists. See
California Association of Public Hospitals.
Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare.
Cardiac ECHO -
Care Pathway -
Structured, multidisplinary plans of care designed to support evidence based
practice through the implementation of clinical guidelines and protocols.
Also called "Integrated Care Pathways" and "Clinical Pathways."
CBO - The Congressional
Budget Office provides nonpartisan budget analysis for the US Congress.
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 "carbon copy" indicating an additional recipient of a
clinical message, such as a laboratory test result; 
Creative Commons is a nonprofit
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MedNet Health Informatics Glossary is copyrighted under a Creative Commons
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License. See
Change Control Board
Connecting Communities for Better Health was a prior name for the Connecting
Communities Workgroup, which currently hosts a a monthly webinar with
technology, policy and legislative experts. A workgroup of the
of Care Document is an HL7 specification intended to standardize the
encoding, structure and semantics of a patient care summary document prepared
for exchange between two electronic health data systems. The CCD specification
is part of the Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) standard. CCD was developed
as a collaborative effort between ASTM and HL7 by seeking a way to express
the CCR within the CDA standard. See
Consolidated CDA, a clinical document type based on a
of CDA templates that represent a harmonization of prior HL7, HITSP, IHE,
and CCD efforts.
The Certification Commission for Health
Information Technology is an independent, not-for-profit organization with
the public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health
information technology (IT). The first U.S. DHHS recognized health IT
certification body, CCHIT began certifying electronic health record technology
in 2006 and has operated as an ONC authorized certification body since 2010.
In January 2014 CCHIT announced it would wind down the ONC certification and
testing services and also announced an alliance with HIMSS without explicitly
defining the new products or services. For more information visit the
CCHIT web site. See
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The Continuity of Care Record
is an exported XML file format intended to be sent to the next healthcare
provider when a patient is referred or transferred between clinics, hospitals,
or other health care providers. The CCR standard file specification was
developed jointly in 2005 by ASTM, Massachusetts Medical Society, HIMSS, AAFP,
AAP, and AMA as a lightweight and useable alternative to the then cumbersome
HL7 v3 options for transition of care clinical messages. Finally admitting
that their then current messaging specification was not useful, HL7 worked
with ASTM to develop the CCD specification, thereby expressing the CCR
functionality within the HL7 CDA standard. See
The HL7 Clinical
Document Architecture is based on the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM).
The CDA seeks to leverage standardized XML-based markup formats to specify the
encoding, structure and semantics of clinical documents for electronic exchange
between different computing environments. See
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
an agency in the U. S. Department of Health and
Human Services. The mission of the CDC is to promote health and
quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
The CDC is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. See
Clinical Data Interchange Standards
Consortium is a private intellectual property development organization
that imposes a proprietary standard licensing revenue model on various
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is one of two competing global wireless
signal standards for cell phones. Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular use CDMA in
the US market. Globally, CDMA has roughly a 15% market share, as most of
world's cell phones use the GSM standard. See
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The California Department of Public
Health. The mission of CDPH is to protect and promote California's health
by making California a place where all people can enjoy the best health
possible, and can live, grow and prosper in clean and safe communities.
CDPH is part of CHHS. See
A clinical data repository (CDR) is a database or datastore that hosts
clinical data. See
Clinical Decision Support. See
See Cal eConnect
Certified EHR Technology is a term invented by legislators to impose regulations
on EHR software initially in the context of disbursing one-time HITECH incentive
funds. The imposition by the legislature of a certification program on EHRs
developed and sold by the private sector was a blunt policy instrument that
likely made sense to legislators in the context of crafting federal oversight
of economic stimulus funds and developing regulations to support the disbursement.
However, imposing a persistent software certification process on the private
sector may distort the commercial EHR development process. For example, the
certification requirements conspicuously fail to recognize the urgent need for
interoperability of clinical data. More distressingly, certification may have
reduced patient safety by introducing new sources of clinical error.
CEN 251 -
European Standardization Committee (Comité Européen de
Normalisation) for medical informatics.
Community ENTerprise Operating System, a community-supported Linux distribution
derived from source code provided by Red Hat.
Chief Executive Officer.
Conseil Européan pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), known in
English as the European Particle Physics Laboratory, where the World Wide Web
was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. See
Certificate Authority -
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Certificate Policy -
Certificate Practice Statement -
A statement of the practices that a CA employs in issuing, suspending,
revoking, and renewing certificates and providing access to them, in
accordance with specific requirements typically provided in a certificate
A third party verification process intended to assure that all or part of a
system conforms to specific published requirements. See
Chief Financial Officer.
Code of Federal Regulations
California Hospital Association.
In health data interface engineering, a channel is one name for the formal
synchronous and sequential process model that enables content (objects) to
be parsed, filtered, and transformed for delivery. See
The California HealthCare Foundation is
an independent philanthropy founded in 1996 and committed to improving the
way health care is delivered and financed in California. See
Health Care System is the legacy health information system for the U.S.
Department of Defense (DoD). Under constant threat of replacement by massive
contracts for commercial, proprietary software. 
Center for Health Care Strategies is a
health policy institute. See
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provides two primary benefits: first, as a memory aid for potentially
overlooked steps in a complex procedure (e.g., is the head of each patient
propped up at least 30 degrees so oral secretions can't go into the windpipe?");
and second, to make explicit the minimum expected steps in a complex process.
Clinical care checklists, copied from airline pilot safety checklists, have
been shown to increase the quality of health care.
Health eQuality program was established in 2012 at the
Institute for Population Health
Improvement at UC Davis Health
System. CHeQ is the entity that was contracted to manage the final
eighteen months of the statewide HIE services cooperative agreement with ONC
for CHHS. See
Facilities Financing Authority.
The California Health and Human Services
agency administers state and federal programs for health care, social services,
public assistance and rehabilitation in California. See
 Consolidated Health Informatics was a Presidential
eGovernment initiative with the goal of adopting vocabulary and messaging
standards to facilitate communication of clinical information across the
federal health enterprise. CHI activities currently fall under the
Federal Health Architecture
initiative.  Center
for Health Improvement 
California Healthcare Institue
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In a structured terminology concepts are organized by assertions of parent
and child relationships between the concepts. Descendant is a synonym for
child in a terminology hierarchy. See
California Health Information Law
Identification is a search tool that assists in identifying California
statutes and regulations related to the privacy, access, and security of
individually identifiable health information.
Community Health Information Network. CHINs, formed in the 1990s, were early
attempts to enable broad community health information exchange. Most CHINs
were expensive disappointments and were decommissioned when the initial
Federal funding expired, but the experiment was an essential investigation
phase that enabled the subsequent rise of 0health information exchange
services in the following decade. Two notable CHINs that survived are
OCHIN (Oregon CHIN) and
UHIN (Utah Health Information Network).
Chronic Care Model -
Developed by Edward H. Wagner, MD, the
model promotes effective
change in provider groups to support evidence-based clinical and quality
improvement across a wide variety of health care settings.
Chronic Disease -
A sickness that is long-lasting or recurrent. Examples include asthma, diabetes,
heart disease, kidney disease, and chronic lung disease.
California Health Workforce Alliance.
Chief Information Officer.
The Center for Information Technology Leadership was an informatics research
effort at Partners Healthcare.
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments.
 A generic term for computer hardware or software which
connects to a network and retrieves data from a server on the network.
 A patient receiving home health care services.
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A network application architecture which separates the client (with or without
a graphical user interface) from the server. Server software typically runs on
robust computers dedicated exclusively to a specific application, such as an
EHR. Client software typically runs on common PCs or workstations.
A master person index (MPI) service that is part of the OpenHIE project.
Clinical Data Repository -
Clinical Messaging -
Communication of electronic clinical data either in real time messages
(e.g., clinical readings from a home monitoring device) or in a store and
forward format (e.g., referral consult, laboratory test result, etc.) pushed
to an inbox or a workflow queue. See
Clinical Practice Guideline -
Cloud Computing -
The provisioning of dynamically scalable and frequently virtualized computer
network hosting resources as a service, generally on a subscription basis.
California Medical Association.
The Confidentiality of Medical Information Act is a California state law from
a prior era that governs individually identifiable health information (IIHI).
Developed primarily to regulate the private exchange of paper records in health
care insurance and financial transactions, CIMA is maladapted to electronic data
services in the modern era and needs a drastic overhaul to be harmonized with
the national approaches to HIPAA, PHI, and Fair Information Practice Principles
Chief Medical Information Officer.
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Chief Medical Officer.
Certificate Management Protocol. See
Morbidity Report. California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 2500,
mandates that certain communicable and non-communicable diseases/conditions be
reported to the local health department using specified methods and time frames.
The CMR form is used in California for this reporting to the local health
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
an agency in the U. S. Department of Health and
Human Services. The mission of CMS is to assure health care security for
Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. CMS is the successor to the agency
formerly known as HCFA. See
Common Data Set,
Chief Nursing Officer.
Code Set -
A code set consists of data elements (the codes) and a description of each
data element. The administrative simplification provisions of HIPAA require
HHS to adopt standard code sets for administrative and financial
Common Data Set -
The MU2 common data set is
by CMS. For example, the data domains required
for the Continuity of Care document are: demographics, problems, allergies,
medications, results, vital signs, and smoking status. See
Continuity of Care,
Common Framework -
The Markle Common Framework, as defined by
for Health, consists of the essential technical and policy requirements
to enable the secure and private interoperation of standard interfaces and
health data exchange transactions at the local, regional and national level.
Connecting for Health,
Community of Practice -
A compiler is a computer program (or set of programs) that transforms source
code written in a programming language (the source language) into another
computer language (the target language, often having a binary form known as
object code). The primary reason for transforming source code into object
code is to create an executable program.
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Computer Icon -
A computer icon is a small pictogram used in file naming on a computer with
a graphical user interface (GUI). The first such icons were developed at the
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. See
Computer Language -
A computer programming language is formally constructed to communicate
instructions to a computer. Programming languages can be used to create
programs to control the behavior of a machine or to express algorithms.
Computer Program -
A computer program, or just a program, is software written as a sequence
of instructions to perform a specific task with a computer.
Computer Science -
A scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications. A
computer scientist specializes in the theory of computation and the design
of computational systems. See
Computer Virus -
A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to
another. The term is generically applied to various types of malware with
differing propagation and attack techniques. The term is sometimes mis-applied
to malware that lacks reproductive ability (e.g., adware, spyware).
A concept is a cognitive unit of meaning, an abstract idea or a mental symbol
sometimes defined as a unit of knowledge. See
Concept Map -
A diagram showing the relationships among concepts; a graphical representation
to organize and represent knowledge. See
A third party's obligation to protect individually identifiable health
information (IIHI) from disclosure to unauthorized individuals.
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An open source software
gateway developed by FHA during the NHIN Trial Implementation project.
CONNECT is not an acronym, it is a federal project name that is officially
spelled with all capital letters. CONNECT supports health information exchange,
both locally and at the national level. CONNECT uses NwHIN standards to enable
the secure electronic exchange of health data. CONNECT is especially useful for
installations of legacy health information technology. Redwood MedNet operates
a CONNECT gateway. See
Connecting for Health -
public-private collaboration with goals to improve people's health and
advance the quality of health care in the USA through innovations in
information technology. Connecting for Health tackled the challenges of
creating a networked health information environment to enable secure and
private information sharing. See
In health informatics, consent refers to explicit and informed consent
affirmed by a patient as part of the communication and decision making
process between a patient and a clinician that results in the patient's
authorization for a specific treatment or procedure, or in the patient's
authorization to release a medical record for treatment or research
Consolidated CDA -
Chief Operations Officer.
In general, a Community of Practice (COP) is a self-directed cohort of
participants organized around a specific topic. See
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An intellectual property license with theoretically inescapable compulsory
requirements for derivative works to be licensed under similar terms.
A legal monopoly established by a government granting to the creator of an
original work exclusive rights to the work, usually for a specific amount of
time. A copyright is a form of intellectual property, like a patent. Commercial
software is typically protected by a copyright. See
Common Object Request Broker Architecture. A language independent object model
developed by the Object Management Group (OMG).
CORBA implementations are rare and its goals largely unaccomplished but its
history is illustrative of the best intentions of software engineers to design
towards interoperability. See
Committee on Operating Rules for health information Exchange, a voluntary
community standard for processing online eligibility and benefits enquiries,
operated as a project of the CAQH. See
COTS - Commercial Off The Shelf. A
common procurement term generically describing commercial software
with limited functionality, as compared to bloated and (generally
overpriced) enterprise software.
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Countermeasure - An action, device,
procedure, or technique that meets or opposes (i.e., counters) a
threat, a vulnerability, or an attack by eliminating or preventing
it, by minimizing the harm it can cause, or by discovering and
reporting it so that corrective action can be taken. [ definition
from RFC 4949 ]
Covered Entity - A covered entity is a
health plan, clearinghouse or health care provider that conducts any
standard electronic transactions. See
A certificate policy (CP) describes the different actors of a public key
infrastructure (PKI), their roles and their duties. The CP is published in
the PKI perimeter. The reference document for a certificate policy is
RFC 3647. See
CPCA - California Primary Care Association.
CPO - Chief Privacy Officer.
CPOE - Computer Physician Order Entry,
the historic term for electronic charting by physicians. CPOE
originated in hospitals in the 1970s, and is a mandated feature of
the HITECH "Meaningful Use" measures. CPOE software as a module
requires and is dependent upon integration with other software
modules (e.g., EMAR, eRx, HIS) See
CPRS - Computerized Patient Record
System, the integrated, comprehensive suite of clinical applications
built by the US Veterans Administration to create a longitudinal
view of the veteran's electronic health record. See
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Procedural Terminology, a code set developed, maintained and
copyrighted by the American
Medical Association. The CPT code set provides annual licensing
income to the AMA. The CPT code set, which accurately describes
medical, surgical, and diagnostic services, is designed to facilitate
billing and reimbursement in the American health care system. CPT
codes are of marginal use for clinical care. See
The Central Processing Unit is the specific hardware within a computer that
carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic
arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system.
Clinical Quality Measures. See
Creative Commons -
California Rural Indian Health Board
Certificate Revocation List. See
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) denotes the business processes used
by an organization to track and organize contacts with its current and
prospective customers. Also refers to the software that tracks and coordinates
the customer relationship business process. CRM grew up from simple contact
management systems into an integral component in an ERP system.
Create Read Update Delete (CRUD) denotes the basic functions of persistant
data storage. Each letter in the acronym can map to a standard SQL statement
and HTTP method. See
Care Services Discovery (CSD) is an IHE
profile that supports queries across related directories containing data about
organizations, facilities, services and providers. CSD is established as a
federated service using a "Care Services InfoManager" as one part of a
choreographed interoperability layer (IL) that enables production and
consumption of shared services.
Center for Studying Health System
Change, a nonpartisan policy research organization.
California State Rural Health Association.
Council of State and Territorial
The IHE Consistent Time (CT) profile specifies
the use of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) defined in
Conditions for Trusted Exchange, an obscure term introduced by ONC during
HITECH policy rulemaking discussions. See
California Telemedicine and eHealth
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California Telehealth Network.
Chief Technology Officer.
("koo-eee") Concept unique identifier. See
Central Valley California HIE. Possibly no longer active? See
Codes in HL7 v2.3 Table 0292, describing a set of vaccines that may be
Calendar Year. See