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ILHIE Glossary 


Acceptable Use Policy ‐Set of rules and guidelines that specify appropriate use of computer systems or networks.

Access Control ‐Preventing the unauthorized use of health information resources.

Accountability ‐Makes sure that the actions of a person or agency may be traced to that individual or agency.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) – A $787.2 billion stimulus measure, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009, that provides aid to states and cities, funding for transportation and infrastructure projects, expansion of the Medicaid program to cover more unemployed workers, health IT funding, and personal and business tax breaks, among other provisions designed to stimulate the economy.

Audit Trail ‐A record showing specific individuals who have accessed a computer and what they have done while they were in that computer.

Authentication ‐Verifying the identity of a user, process, or device, before allowing access to resources in an information system.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – A federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the State Children‘s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and health insurance portability standards.

Certification ‐A complete examination of an information system to be sure that the system can perform at the level required to support the intended results and meet the national standards for health information technology.

Certification Commission for Healthcare IT (CCHIT) – A recognized certification body (RCB) for electronic health records and their networks. It is an independent, voluntary, private‐sector initiative, established by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and The National Alliance for Health Information Technology.

CHITREC – Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC). CHITREC serves providers in the City of Chicago and is one of two RECs in Illinois.

– The obligation of a person or agency that receives information about an individual, as part of providing a service to that individual, to protect that information from unauthorized persons or unauthorized uses. Confidentiality also includes respecting the privacy interest of the individuals who are associated with that information.

Consent – The permission granted by an authorized person that allows the provider, agency or organization to release information about a person. The authorized person may be the subject of the information or they may be a designated representative such as a parent or guardian. Law, policy and procedures, and business agreements guide the use of consent.

Covered Entity – As defined by HIPAA Privacy/Security/Enforcement regulations: a covered entity is a health plan; healthcare clearinghouse; a healthcare provider who transmits any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction covered by HIPAA.

Data Use Agreement – An agreement between a health provider, agency or organization and a designated receiver of information to allow for the use of limited health information for the purpose of research, public health or health care operations. The agreement assures that the information will be used only for specific purposes.

Data Use and Reciprocal Support Agreement (DURSA) – a comprehensive, multi‐party trust legal agreement and is based upon a set of policy assumptions that bridge varying state and federal laws and regulations, as well as various policies. This legal contract, signed by all entities currently exchanging information via the NHIN Exchange, provides a framework of trust assurance to support health information exchange across the NHIN.

Decryption ‐The process used to “unscramble” information so that a “scrambled” or jumbled message becomes understandable.

De‐identified Health Information ‐Name, address, and other personal information are removed when sharing health information so that it cannot be used to determine who a person is.

Digital Certificate ‐Like a driver’s license, it proves electronically that the person is who he or she says they are.

Digital Signature ‐Uniquely identifies one person electronically and is used like a written signature. For example, a doctor or nurse may use a digital signature at the end of an e‐mail to a patient, just as she would sign a letter.

Direct Project ‐The set of standards, policies and services that enable simple, secure transport of health information between healthcare participants (e.g., providers, labs) who know each other and already have a relationship of trust. The Direct Project enables standards‐based exchange of health information in support of core Stage 1 Meaningful Use measures.

Disclosure ‐The release or transfer of information to someone else.

Electronic Health Record (EHR) – A real‐time electronic record of health‐related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one health care organization – a patient health record with access to evidence‐based decision support tools that can be used to aid clinicians in decision making. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) – Electronic records of health‐related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization.

Electronic Prescribing (e‐Prescribing) – A type of technology with which physicians use handheld or personal computer devices to review drug and formulary coverage, and to transmit prescriptions to a printer or a local pharmacy. E‐prescribing software can be integrated into existing clinical information systems to enable physician access to patient‐specific information to screen for drug interactions and allergies.

Encryption ‐The translation of information to a code to keep it secret.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The United States government agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

Federally‐Qualified Health Center (FQHC) – A safety net provider such as community health center, public housing center, or outpatient health program, and programs serving migrants and the homeless. FQHCs provide services to all persons regardless of ability to pay, and charge for services on a community board‐approved sliding‐fee scale that is based on patients’ family income and size. FQHCs are funded by the federal government under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.

Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of – The federal government agency responsible for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services.

Healthcare Provider – A person or organization that furnishes, bills, or is paid for healthcare in the normal course of business.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – Enacted by Congress in 1996 Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. The Administration Simplification provisions also address the security and privacy of health data. The standards are meant to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation‘s health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the U.S. health care system.

Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act – Federal statute. Refers collectively to the health information technology provisions included in Title XIII of Division A and Title IV of Division B of the ARRA.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) – The electronic movement of health‐related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards.


Health Information Organization (HIO) – An organization that oversees and governs the exchange of health‐related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards. Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) is under contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology to implement this national collaborative effort.

Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC)
– A national collaborative effort to address privacy and security policy questions affecting interoperable health information exchange (HIE).

Health Information Technology (HIT) – The application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) ‐The law Congress passed in 1996 to make sure that health insurance would not stop when an individual changed employers. It also requires that health information be kept private and secure.

Health Information Service Provider (HISP) ‐An organization that provides services on the Internet to facilitate use of Direct. A HISP is a logical concept that encompasses certain services that are required for Direct‐mediated exchange, such as the management of trust between senders and receivers.

HL7 (Health Level Seven) – American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards for the exchange, management and integration of electronic healthcare information. HL7 is the most widely used messaging standard and includes fields for: diagnostic results, notes, referrals, scheduling information, nursing notes, problems, and clinical trials data.

ILHITREC – Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC). ILHITREC serves providers statewide and is one of two RECs in Illinois.

Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I‐CARE) ‐An immunization record‐sharing computer program developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) –The State agency responsible for administering Illinois’ Medicaid and other medical assistance programs.

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) – the State agency responsible for administering Illinois’ public health programs and maintaining public health data.

Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE) – Illinois’ statewide electronic network for securely sharing clinical and administrative data among health care providers. The exchange is designed to improve the health of the people of Illinois through better and more informed decision‐making through the quick exchange of, and access to patient information such as medical records, labs, immunizations and prescriptions at the point of care.

Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority – The entity authorized in statute to oversee the Illinois electronic Health Information Exchange (ILHIE). 

Illinois Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) – An agency within the Office of the Governor, working to promote the development of health information technology, increase the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records, assure the privacy and security of electronic health information.

Informed Consent ‐Information exchange between a clinical investigator and research subjects. This exchange may include question/answer sessions, verbal instructions, measures of understanding, and reading and signing informed consent documents and recruitment materials.

Integrity – Refers to data or information that has not been changed or destroyed in an unauthorized way.

Interface – A means of interaction between two devices or systems that handle data.

Interoperability – The ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries, in order to advance the effective delivery of health care for individuals and communities, i.e., a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to inter‐operate. The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organizational factors that impact system to system performance.

Limited Data Set ‐Health information that does not contain identifiers. It is protected but may be used for certain purposes without the owner’s consent.

Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) – The primary information system used to process claims and perform other functions necessary to administer the Medicaid program at the state level.

Master Patient Index (MPI) – a database that maintains a unique index (or identifier) for every patient registered at a health care organization. The MPI ensures that a patient is logically represented only once and with the same set of registration demographic / registration data. An MPI is considered an important resource in a healthcare facility because it is the link tracking patient, person, or member activity within an organization (or enterprise) and across patient care settings.

Meaningful Use – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide reimbursement incentives for eligible professionals and hospitals who are successful in becoming “meaningful users” of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. The Medicare EHR incentive program will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that are meaningful users of certified EHR technology. The Medicaid EHR incentive program will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals for efforts to adopt, implement, or upgrade certified EHR technology or for meaningful use in the first year of their participation in the program and for demonstrating meaningful use during each of five subsequent years.

Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) – The NwHIN is a secure backbone concept that links existing regional HIEs through a standard set of "core services" that allows one HIE to share data with another HIE. This effectively creates a "network of networks" that spans the Nation and provides stakeholders (payers, consumers, providers, policymakers, and administrators) with the ability to access data from across institutions, States, and repositories.

Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) – Serves as principal advisor to the Secretary of HHS on the development, application, and use of health information technology; coordinates HHS‘s health information technology policies and programs internally and with other relevant executive branch agencies; develops, maintains, and directs the implementation of HHS’ strategic plan to guide the nationwide implementation of interoperable health information technology in both the public and private health care sectors, to the extent permitted by law; and provides comments and advice at the request of OMB regarding specific Federal health information technology programs. ONC was established within the Office of the Secretary of HHS in 2004 by Executive Order 13335.

Optin/Opt out– The provision or removal of consent or authorization that a patient provides regarding the use of their health information.

Public Health Information Network (PHIN) – A national initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enable real‐time data exchange between organizations for the promotion of interoperability, collaboration, rapid dissemination of critical information, and computer statistical analysis in the many organizations that participate in public health.

Portal – A point of access to information on the World Wide Web. Portals present information from diverse sources in a unified way. Popular portals include MSN, Yahoo and AOL. Aside from the search engine standard, Web portals offer other services such as news, stock prices, infotainment and various other features. Portals provide a way for enterprises to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications, which otherwise would have been different entities altogether.

Protected Health Information (PHI) ‐Health information transmitted or maintained in any form that can reasonably be used to identify an individual.

Quality of Care – The degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge. Quality can be defined as a measure of the degree to which delivered health services meet established professional standards and judgments of value to consumers.

Record Locator Service (RLS) – An information service that enables patient information to be found in a health information exchange. It does not allow access to the actual information the records may contain, but rather, allows records to be located and transferred (if authorized), while preserving the security, privacy, and the autonomy of the participating entities.


Regional Extension Center (REC) – The Health Information Technology Extension Program provides grants for the establishment of Health Information Technology Regional Centers that will offer technical assistance, guidance and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The consistent, nationwide adoption and use of secure EHRs will ultimately enhance the quality and value of health care. There are two Regional Extension Centers (RECs) in Illinois: CHITREC (for providers in Chicago) and ILHITREC (for providers statewide).

Sensitive Information – a term generally used to describe health information such as details on substance abuse, family planning, mental health, and others.

Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) Program – One of the grant programs authorized by the HITECH Act. The SHARP program is led by collaborative efforts at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, the University of Texas at Houston, Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic of Medicine, and Massachusetts General Hospital. These collaborations are conducting research to achieve tangible goals in their respective research areas over a four‐year period. SHARP research will be translated into patient‐centered health IT products and services to create fundamental improvements along critical areas toward a high‐performing, learning health care system.

Telehealth – The use of telecommunications technologies and electronic information to support long‐distance clinical health care, patient and professional health‐related education, or public health and health administration.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – The federal government agency responsible for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. HHS, through CMS, administers the Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low‐income people) programs, among others.

Use Case – A technique to identify, clarify, and organize requirements of a new system or software change. Each use case provides one or more scenarios that convey how the system should interact with the end user or another system to achieve a specific business goal. The use case should contain all system activities that have significance to the users. A use case can be thought of as a collection of possible scenarios related to a particular goal.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) – A general purpose markup language adaptable to many different kinds of data. XML is a set of rules for encoding documents electronically, used extensively in modern solutions to transfer health data between different and incompatible computer systems. XML‘s design goals emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. Although XML‘s design focuses on documents, it is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data structures, for example in web services.