If you’re entering the world of healthcare, you’ll need to learn healthcare terminology. To help, we’ve compiled a list of some basic terms that will get you started. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should give you a baseline for what you need to know.
From there, you’ll hopefully be able to develop your healthcare terminology knowledge. Happy learning!
If you’re studying health information technology or medical billing and coding, you’ll probably see EHR/EMR pop up a lot. EHR refers to electronic healthcare records, and EMR refers to electronic medical records. They’re pretty similar, and you’ll most likely see them used interchangeably. There is a difference, though: EMRs generally refer to medical records from a specific provider or office, while EHRs encompass the patient’s entire medical history.
If you’re interested in a pharmacy technician role, you’ll find yourself working with eRx, or electronic prescriptions. eRx allows for a paperless prescription process. Because physicians can send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, it usually makes the process quicker, easier and more accurate.
HIE stands for Health Information Exchange. Once EHRs/EMRs are stored as electronic files, providers need to be able to exchange this patient information to make sure the patient receives informed care. HIEs allow for interoperability—which you’ll read more about in a moment.
HIM stands for Health Information Management, which refers to the management of electronic healthcare records. As new files are entered every day, these stored files require constant maintenance to make sure they are accurate, protected and filled out according to regulations.
HIT stands for Health Information Technology. This refers to the field that focuses on the technological needs of the healthcare industry.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which is a federal statute. This act (along with the HITECH Act of 2009) helps to protect patient information. It’s important for people in the healthcare field to know about HIPAA, particularly those in information management. A breach in electronic healthcare records could lead to costly HIPAA violations.
Get ready for this, because it’s a mouthful: ICD-10 stands for “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems, 10th revision.” Luckily, you don’t need to remember all that. But if you work in coding, you will need to be familiar with some or all of the 68,000 codes within ICD-10. These codes classify diseases, treatment and procedures so that providers can receive the correct payment for services.
Interoperability refers to the process of being able to easily transfer EHRs across different physicians, insurance providers, payers and more. In recent years, regulations have pushed for interoperability in electronic healthcare records. This is because full access to a patient’s medical history can lead to better, more informed care.
Telehealth refers to new technology that allows for healthcare to be accessed via telecommunication technology. For example, patients might be able to use video chat to speak with doctors about specific illnesses. Telehealth has the potential to expand the reach of healthcare into underserved areas.
And that should help you get started! What new healthcare terminology have you learned in your healthcare career classes? Let us know in the comments!