chapter button
home index glossary


Glossary (E - J)


For more information on many of these terms see or Delaware Healthcare Association Glossary of Health Care Terms and Acronyms

For more information on many of these terms see

Early adopter - in Rogers' Theory of Innovation, an individual who adopts an innovation before the majority and influences others to adopt the innovation.

Early majority - in Rogers' Theory of Innovation, these individuals are influenced by early adopters who are averse to risks, but will adopt an innovation if they regard it as safe.

e-Book - a "book" that is the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book. A book published in electronic form. There is the Amazon's Kindle (Fire), Barnes and Noble's Nook. An iPad is also capable of downloading e-Books.

e-Encounter - two way electronic exchange between a healthcare provider and a client/patient initiated by either. Today usually means email, but is moving towards substituting for office visits.

e-Intensive Care - the use of off-site intensive care specialists, nurses or physicians, to track patients in intensive care units. They monitor a cluster of screens that register heart rate, blood pressure, and other clinical indicators for patients in these off-site units. Allows even small rural units to have access to an intensivist, or a person specifically trained in intensive care.

EFMI - European Federation of Medical Informatics

e-Health - the use of the emerging communication technologies to promote health both individually and for the general population. It includes telehealth, but also the use of many Internet tools.

EHR - see Electronic Health Record

e-Learning - the combining of electronics, generally some form of a computer, and instruction. May also be used to refer to online learning. Should not be confused with informatics.

EIDE (Enhanced IDE) - an interface between the hard drive and the computers RAM.

Electronic mail - see email

Electronic mailing list - see Mailing list group.

Electronic format - something that has been computerized. A book that is accessible by computer would be said to be in electronic format.

Electronic Health Record (EHR) - The complete record of an individual's healthcare from many sources that is created and gathered cumulatively from more than one healthcare agency. What information in it is accessible and to whom is determined by the individual whose health it records. This term is often erroneously used to mean an electronic medical record.

Electronic Mailing List - is formed by a group of people who subscribe to receive all emails sent to the group. Usually the members can also post to the list. Often called a listserv for the first software that permitted this type of group.

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) - the electronic record of patient care created, and owned by one healthcare agency or healthcare provider office. Is not an electronic health record.

Electronic Personal Health Record (PHR) - A cumulative electronic healthcare record for one individual that has information from multiple sources that is created, gathered, and managed by the individual who has control of the integrity of the data and access to it.

Go to the top of the page

Electronic signature - a name affixed to a document that has a digital code attached to it that positively identifies the individual. For protection, this code may be encrypted. Sometimes called a digital signature because of the digital code attachment.

Email - the transmission of message(s) from one computer to a specified computer using a computer network. Email addresses are used to locate the recipient computer. They adhere to the IP protocol.

Embed - the term used to describe importing a object from one program to another program without copying the object. Once embedded, the object stands alone, and does not change if the original object is changed. See table 4-1 (page 75). The opposite is linked.

Emoticon - a small picture created with the normal keys on a keyboard meant to denote the writer mood in an email message. One needs to tilt one head to the left to read them. Also called smileys.

Employee Scheduling Systems - Software used to create work schedules for employees. They work with scheduling rules such as master schedules, shift rotations, repeating patterns to quickly make the first draft of a schedule.

EMR - see Electronic Medical Record.

Encrypt - The translation of data into a secret code. In order to read an encrypted file it is necessary to access a password or secret key that returns it to normal text. Encrypted text is sometimes referred to as cipher text.

Endnote - "notes" that appear at the end of a chapter or book. See footnote

End Note - reference manager software

Encryption - the process of translating electronic data into a code that requires a code by the recipient to decode.

ENIAC - Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer

Enterprise - an entire agency, could be one lone hospital, or a multi-healthcare agency such as the Mayo Clinic.

Enterprise System - an integrated system that is uses for all departments in an agency.

ENUDS - Emergency Nursing Uniform Data Set - a modification of the NMDS for emergency room nurses.

Entity - a name that is used for a table in databases. Can also be used in database terminology to refer to a file.

EPR - Electronic Patient Record. See computerized patient record. Common name now is either EHR (accessible by more than one agency) or EMR (for one agency)

Ergonomics - designing work environments for maximizing safety and efficiency. It involves understanding how the human body functions and making sure that tasks and equipment are designed to maximize ease of use.

Go to the top of the page 

Error trap - a routine that a programmer puts into a program to catch an unintended entry. A well designed error trap will inform the user of what is wrong with the entry and provide instructions for making a correction. An example could be a user who inadvertently enters 55 (Celsius) as a patients' temperature. The program would be set to catch any numbers beyond a reasonable human temperature such as 30 and 50, and would give the user a message such as "This entry does not seem reasonable for a temperature. Please enter a number between 30 and 50."

Evidence-based nursing - nursing care that is based on empirical evidence such as reliable research and patient preferences. Requires information technology skills.

Evidence-based practice (care) - clinical practice in which decision making is guided by the best research evidence available, clinical knowledge, and consultation with the patient to decide the best patient care. Requires information technology skills

Executable file - a computer file that carries out instructions in response to the programming code it contains. Application programs are controlled by executable files. The suffix to this type of file is .exe

Expert systems - a computer application designed for a specific domain such as obstetric nursing, to evaluate data and make a recommendation that an expert would make given the same situation. Expert systems have three overall parts, a data or knowledge base, an inference engine, and a user interface.

Exporting a file - Accessed from the File menu, this process converts a file from the format of the current application to that of another application, thus enabling two programs with different file formats to share the same data.

Extension - the three character after the dot in a file name that denotes the program that created it. For example, "doc" for a Microsoft Word document (although it is "docx) for Word 2007. If your file list does not show extensions, this can be changed.

Extensible markup language. See XML

External reference - referencing (linking) to data from a source not in the same worksheet. When this is done, when the value in the referenced cell is changed, the change is reflected in the cell that is linked with it.

Extranet - an extension of an intranet which provides accessibility to an agency intranet to a specific group of outsiders.

ezine - a type of online journal that is published regularly, but does not maintain archives and is not peer reviewed.

Factual database - a database that provides reference material such as drug dosages, normal values for laboratory tests etc. They are often offered as software for hand held computers.

Fair Use - See chapter 25

FAQ - see frequently asked questions

FAT or file allocation table - the"table of contents" for a disk.

Favorite - The term used by Microsoft Internet Explorer® to designate a list of folders that the user wishes easy access to. Analogous to Bookmark used by other browsers.

Fiber Optic Cable - a wire as thin as copper wire which contains very thin, pure glass fibers. Because the fibers are so small more fibers can be bundled in a size equivalent to a copper wire. Data travels over this cable in the form of light and is capable of speeds up to 186,000 miles per second, however, the technology to use all this speed has not yet been developed. It is the fastest method of sending data with speeds currently reaching 1000 megabits per second.

Field - a column in a database table for a specific piece of data. For example, an entry for patient temperature would be entered into the temperature field or column. In databases a field may be referred to as an attribute. In word processing this term describes data inserted into a mail merge document, for example a city.

Field entry - the data that is placed in a field in a specific record.

Field names - a label used to specify the contents of a field, e.g. the name"pulse" for the field containing pulse rates or temperature for a field containing temperature.

File - on a computer, a collection of data that has been saved to a disk and has a name. Among other things, files can contain text, numbers, and images as well as code needed to run programs. Files that are user created are best kept in one location. Computers usually have a default folder where users are expected to store the files that they create. May be named "My Documents," or "Documents." Users then create folders within that folder to store their files in an organized manner.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - a method of placing (uploading) files on the Internet or Web and retrieving (downloading) them. Web browsers handle the downloading seamlessly so users are unaware that this protocol is being used.

File extension - the characters in a file name after the dot in the name. E.g. in the name "Glossary.doc" the file extension is "doc" indicating a file created by Microsoft Word.

File infector virus - a virus that affects executable files.

Go to the top of the page

Financial managers - application programs that assist individuals or companies to manage finances. They can be as simple as an individual money manager or complex enough to manage entire industries.

Financial Management - The management of finances to create wealth for the business, generate cash and provide a good return on investment. It has to consider the risks that the business is taking and the resources invested.

Firewall - a means of preventing unauthorized access to or from an Internet connection. They can involve either hardware or software or both. Further protection is provided by encrypting the information on the network.

Firewire - a type of connection between two electronic devices, often a computer and a webcam. Its actual speed of transmission is faster than a USB port and it is an excellent method of transferring uncompressed video files.

Fixed disk - a name sometimes used for a hard disk, it is a disk that is attached to the computer, the removal of which entails a lengthy process. See hard drive.

Fixed Tangible Medium - A physical existence needed for copyright. The work must be recorded in some physical medium, whether on paper, audio tape or computer disk. Spontaneous speech or musicianship that is not recorded, (a jazz solo, for instance) is not protected by copyright.

Flame - an email message which contains strong criticism, that is usually irrational or highly emotional.

Flame war - the result of an exchange of flames. They occur usually in news groups or electronic mailing lists. The exchange continues until cooler heads prevail. They can become very nasty when posters forget etiquette. More common in lists that discuss controversial subjects.

Flash animation - an animated film created using the Adobe software Flash. Requires a Flash player to see which is freely available at Adobe. May be interactive.

Flash drive - A portable flash memory device that plugs into a computer USB port and functions as a storage device. They are small enough to be carried in a pocket and can plug into any computer with a USB drive, but have large storage capabilities.

Flash memory - A special type of memory whose contents can be deleted and written to in blocks instead of one byte at a time.

Flat database - a database that contains only one table. A spreadsheet worksheet is an example as is a table in a word processor.

Flash animation - Web animation designed with Adobe Flash Program. Requires a free plug-in that can be downloaded from Using Flash technology a page looks the same in all Web browsers. These animations are "bandwidth friendly," i.e. they are compressed and will load faster than many other graphical formats. If designing a Web page with animation when many of the potential users live in rural areas, check the download time before posting.

Flash Memory - A special type of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory that can be erased and reprogrammed in blocks instead of one byte at a time. It is popular in modems and may be called flash RAM.

Go to the top of the page

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level - see

Flesch-Reading Ease - See

Flow chart - a graphical picture of a process with decision points and options. In more sophisticated versions it includes inputs and outputs. Is used in computer programming, design of a database,large computer systems, and anyplace where it is necessary to understand a linear concept of how something works.

Folder - the name given to a logical entity used to index files on a disk. It is similar in concept to a file folder in a filing cabinet. A folder can contain other folders as well as files.

Folksonomy - a method of collective intelligence in which groups share information by classifying it with a label.

Font - a name given to the design of characters (although in the non-computer world these are called typefaces). In the computer environment fonts are a combination of looks, spacing, size and attributes. Application programs have many different "fonts" available such as Times New Roman, Helvetica and Arial. Some of the so called fonts such as Wingdings are actually symbols.

Footer - a piece of text that appears on the bottom of every page. Many application packages such as word processors will automatically insert these. See header.

Footnote - text that appears on the bottom of a specific page. See Endnote

Forecasting - Predictions of what will happen based on careful data analysis. The quality of the forecast depends on the data on which it was based.

Form - in databases or spreadsheets, a screen designed to ease data entry. Regardless of the order of the fields in the database, on a form the fields can be placed in any location that facilitates data entry. They may also be assigned a label that may not correspond to the field name in the database, but which provides information to facilitate data entry. Additional information for the individual entering data can also be included. Somewhat analogous to a 3 x 5 card used to record data.

Format (how something looks) - a menu option in Windows that usually has options that affect how things look. In a word processor this often refers to font, margins, justification or if the print will be in columns. In a spreadsheet format contains options for such things as column height and width.

Format cells - the ability to assign various attributes to the contents of the cell, e.g. have the program automatically add $, or a %.

Format (disk)- when referring to a computer disk this term means that the disk is prepared so that the particular type of computer, i.e., either a PC or a Macintosh, can read and write data to it. This process also checks the disk to see if has any bad sectors. If they are found the format program will close them off so they cannot be written to. Many diskettes come already formatted, however, if they are old, it will not hurt to reformat them. Formatting makes it impossible to retrieve any information that was on the diskette before it was formatted unless you are both lucky and have access to a diskette guru. Do NOT attempt to format a hard disk unless you are an experienced and knowledgeable computer user.

Go to the top of the page

Formula - a group of symbols (can be numbers) that make a mathematical statement that is used to create another number that represents a summary of the data. Used in spreadsheets and statistical software.

Forum - An electronic discussion group. Usually sponsored by an organization for its members or sometimes other interested parties. Generally requires registration and use of a login and password to access.

Forward compatibility (upward compatible) - programs that can run on newer versions of a computer. For example, if you have version 4.0 of a program and it will work on your new computer it is said to be forwardly compatible. Can also refer to the ability of version 8.0 of a program to create files that version 6.0 can read. See Backword Compatibility.

Fourth-generation language (4GL) - a programming languages closer to human language than typical third or high level languages. Many are used for database queries. See computer languages.

Frame - a device used in early Web pages. The frame is the main page that users see, any information from another file that is seen has been inserted into the frame. They may be used to preserve navigational information on a page. They create difficulties for certain browsers and for screen readers hence do not pass usability tests from sites that will examine a page for general usability.

Free-nets - public computer network that has free access and that provides information and Internet access to citizens of that community.

Freeware - software that although copyrighted is given away by the author. Because the author retains the copyright you must follow the authors wishes in terms of what you can do with it, this usually precludes selling it. This is more restrictive than public domain software.

Freeze - 1) see computer crash 2) in a spreadsheet refers to making specific rows or columns always visible on the screen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) - a list of questions and answers pertaining to a topic that the creator and maintainer of a site has found are often asked by users. A first stop in learning about a topic.

Function keys - keys at the top of the keyboard the have a number preceded by an"F." They invoke features in an application program.

Functional interoperability - See technical interoperability.

FTP - acronym for file transfer protocol which is a method of transmitting files over the Internet.

Gantt Chart - a chart used in project management that shows start to end dates and associated tasks for those dates as well as costs with tasks. See page 414

Genomics - The study of the structure and function of genes. This science can help to explain individual variations in reactions to drugs, for example, why some drugs work with some patients, and not others, and which patients are most apt to develop side effects or certain diseases such as breast cancer.

Go to the top of the page 

Genomics - The branch of molecular genetics concerned with the study of the complete set of human genetic information or genomes. This information is located in DNA sequences within the 23 chromosome pairs.

Gigabyte - approximately more than a billion bytes (1,000,000,000).

Gigahertz - One billion hertzes, or one million cycles of electricity through a circuit per second. Often used to measure the clock speed of a processor. Less powerful computers measure this in megahertzs (One million hertzes).

GIGO - acronym for garbage in garbage out. This refers to the fact that if inaccurate information is entered into the computer, the output will also be inaccurate.

Glitch - A malfunction, sometimes used as a synonym for bug, but usually it refers to a hardware problem.

Goal seek - A spreadsheet function which allows, a cell with a formula to be set so that the value in a referenced cell will change to produce a given value.

Go live - the term used to indicate the process by which a system starts operating. Usually given as a date, as in "go live" will be September 25.

Gopher - A text based tool developed at the University of Minnesota that allowed users to browse the Internet resources and make selections from menus. It featured a search tool of sorts known as Veronica, (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives). Gophers have become part of history with the rise of the WWW. Some of the more important documents that were available on Gophers have now been converted to web documents.

Gradient background - a background that starts with one color and gradually morphs to a lighter shade of that color, or even to white.

Granularity - The level of detail that a term in a standardized terminology represents. That is, how much of the antecedent actions can be captured using a term. Terms in a standardized terminology too often represent different levels of granularity. The need for granularity varies with the need of the users. For patient care it needs to be at the lowest level, for research often less granularity will suffice.

Graphic- the term used on computers to refer to non-text displays, or images that use shapes not seen on a standard keyboard. This term often refers to pictures which are known as images. Graphics demand much more memory, in RAM, on a video board, and when printed.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) - a way of interacting with the computer in which the user makes selections from images called icons. This is often done by moving an object (often a mouse, or a trackball) that moves a pointer on the screen then clicking (depress and release) a button, in a process known as point and click.

Go to the top of the page

Grassroots Media - the widespread creation and posting to the Web of media such as video, photos, and blogs by non-professionals.

Groupware - a type of software that facilitates collaboration by a group of colleagues attached to a network. It supports such things as scheduling meetings, email and electronic newsletters. It is sometimes called workgroup productivity software. Users can be sitting next to each other or half a world apart.

GUI - see graphical user interface

Hacker - originally this term meant a computer enthusiast who enjoys the challenge of doing the impossible. Today this term has been turned into a pejorative term for a cracker, or someone who uses computer skills to destroy computers or data. See black hat hacker and white hat hacker.

Handheld Computer - a computer small enough to be held in the hand. PDAs are an example.

Hang - a type of computer crash in which a program suddenly refuses to respond to keyboard or mouse input. Often depressing the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys simultaneously will allow you to exit with some manner of control. See computer crash.

Hanging paragraph - a paragraph in which the margin of the first line is to the leftExample of a hanging paragraph of the margin for the other lines of text. Sometimes called an outdented paragraph.

Hard disk - a fixed large disk inside a computer that reads and writes to the hard disk. The hard disk is usually the primary form of storage for PCs. They continue to increase in size which in PCs is now measured in gigabytes (1 billion bytes).

Hard return - tapping the Enter key to create a permanent new line, that is one that will always start a new line unless deleted.

Hardware - This term refers to that part of the computer that you can touch such as disks, disk drives, monitors, keyboards, speakers, printers, mice, boards, and chips. In audiovisual equipment it would be the slide projector or the film projector. Without software (the film) it is nothing more than an expensive paper weight.

Hard wired - connecting a computer to a network with a wire (cable). Opposed to wireless in which the connection is by radio waves.

HCFA - (pronounced Hickva) Health Care Financing Administration. Now known as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

Go to the top of the page 

HCPCS - Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. Used for describing specific items and services provided in the delivery of health care for Medicare and Medicaid.

HDC - (Hickva) Data Centers

Header - text that is at the top of every page. Software such as word processors will automatically place this text.

Health Level 7 - see HL 7

Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) - an interdisciplinary informatics organization.

Healthcare Analytics - see Business Intelligence

Healthcare informatics - the science of managing healthcare information that draws on information and computer science, healthcare discipline knowledge, and theories such as socio-technical theory, change theories, cognitive theory, usability principles, learning theories and chaos theory.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) - the electronic exchange of health-related data between healthcare agencies not under the same ownership using agreed protocols, standards, and other criteria. May also be referred to as a RHIO. See Chapter 15 for more information.

Health Information Technology (HIT). Technology applied in healthcare, generally meant to refer to electronic records. Sometimes the name of the department that has the responsibility for the electronic records.

Health literacy - The ability of individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. It includes not only the ability to understand health education brochures and doctor directions, but the ability to interpret instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips and consent forms. It requires the ability to apply complex reading, listening, analytical and decision-making skills to health situations. Sullivan, E. and P. Glassman. (2007, July 17). "Health Literacy." Retrieved December 4, 2011, from (see pages 186 and 255)

Health numeracy - the ability of consumers to access, process, interpret and act on numerical health information not just numbers, but in the form of graphical, biostatistical and probabilistic statements to make well-informed health decisions. Golbeck, A. L., C. R. Ahlers-Schmidt, et al. (2005). "A Definition and Operational Framework for Health Numeracy." American Journal of Preventive Medicine 29(4): 375–376 (Page 255)

HEDIS - Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, a plan to allow consumers and employers to compare effectiveness of health plans. Developed and maintained by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). What is HEDIS?

Hertz (Hz) - a unit of speed measurement per second. One hertz would be one cycle of electricity through a circuit per second. See megahertz and gigahertz.

HHCC - Home Health Care Classification, old name for the CCC. See chapter 16 for more information.

HHS - Department of Health and Human Services.

Go to the top of the page

Hibernate - a method of shutting down the computer with programs an files open. In this mode, the program saves all the current information in RAM on the hard rive. When the computer is reactivated, it is all retrieved without having to go through the entire booting process. Is a little different than sleep mode.

Hierarchal Database - an early model for databases in which the data tables are organized in a tree format.

High Level Language - a third level programming language, e.g. Basic, Cobol, Ada or C.

HIMSS - Healthcare Information Management Systems Society.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) - A law passed by Congress in 1996 that is designed to protect patient privacy and to streamline administration tasks by requiring data to be standardized, i.e. to use the same coding. The HHS department was been charged with writing the rules to operationalize the Act. The privacy rules have been completed, but the rules governing transportability of data are still being considered.

HIT - Health Information Technology

HL7 (Healthcare Level 7) - criteria for transmitting healthcare data about patient registration, admission, discharge and transfers, insurance, charges and payers, orders and results for laboratory tests, image studies, nursing and physician observations, diet orders, pharmacy orders, supply orders, and master files. It defines the data to be transmitted and specifies how it will be transmitted. It is the 7th, or highest level in data interchanging.

HIE - see Health Information Exchange

Highlighted - an object such as a file, text, graphic etc. is highlighted when it is selected. Highlighting adds a temporary attribute to denote that the object has been selected. The highlighting disappears when the object is no longer selected.

Hoax - in computers, a message sent to people that is false. It is usually a warning of something. These easily proliferate by email. Check all warnings received by email at Snopes.

Home Health Care Classification (HHCC) - a classification system for nursing data, developed as a method to assess and classify Medicare home care patients in order to determine the resources required to provide home health services as well as the expected outcomes of care. Now reorganized and called the Clinical Care Classification (CCC). See chapter 16 for more information.

Go to the top of the page

Home page - (1) The document displayed when the computer named in the URL is accessed (the name of the computer is the letters between either the double forward slash or the www. and the first single forward slash.

Horizontal bar - a bar or box on the bottom of a screen that allows a user to move to portions of the screen that are either to the right or left. Is especially useful in spreadsheets and some Web pages. Companion to the vertical bar

Hospital Information System (HIS) - an information system that allows information from many hospital departments to be exchanged. There are generally systems within an HIS such as order/entry, lab, radiology and nursing.

Hot link - 1) A link between the same object in two programs. See Link (2). 2) an area in a Web document that is a hyperlink.

Hot plug - the ability of a computer to recognize new devices, such as a digital camera, that are added while the computer is running. Also allows devices to be removed during computer operation.

Hotspot - A location in which a person has access to the Internet through the use of a router which is connected to a link to an Internet service provider. Hotspots typically use Wi-Fi technology. Originally referred to an area on a computer screen such as a picture or text, that when clicked activates a function. Links on the Web are a good example.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) - the main language used to create documents on the World Wide Web. It includes formatting tags and hypertext links.

HTTP (HyperText Transmission Protocol) - the series of protocols that defines how WWW messages are formatted and what actions WWW servers and browsers will take.

Human Resource Management System - (also called HR modules) the systems that automate some human resource management (HRM). It merges basic HR activities and processes with the information technology field.

Hybrid Course - Course that involves both face to face learning and e-Learning

Hypertext - a type of cross-referencing in which text or objects are linked to another file or another spot in the current file. In a Web document hyper linked text is usually indicated by a blue color and underlining. Placing one mouse pointer on that word and clicking retrieves the file linked to that word, or moves the screen to the linked location in the same document. Objects that are hyper linked will cause the mouse pointer to become a hand when it is located over the object. Links are often called hot spots.

Hypertext Markup Language - see HTML

Hz - (see hertz and refresh.)

Go to the top of the page

IAMIS - see Integrated Advanced Information Management System

ICD-9 International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision. US still using, despite ICD-10.

ICD-9CM - International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, Clinical Modifications.

ICD-10 International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, includes nursing. Has been in use in all countries except the US since 1989. CMS has mandated that all entities must update to this by October 1, 2011.

ICD-11 International Classification of Diseases, 11th revision. The first draft of the ICD-11 system is expected in 2010, with publication following by 2014 and in 2015 implementation will take place.

ICNP - see International Classification of Nursing Practice

Icon - a small picture that represents an object or program. In Windows applications, the user clicks on an icon to make a selection.

IDE - an acronym for Intelligent Drive Electronics or Integrated Drive Electronics. It is the interface between hard drives or CD-ROMs and the computer.

If/then/else - a branch control statement in an algorithm that tests a variable and executes instructions based on the results of that test, e.g. if the variable is equal to 3, flag the item, in which case if the variable it is testing equals any number but 3 it will not flag the item. When else is added the else will be executed when the If statement is false. The else may be another if statement.

IHTSDO - See International Health Technology Standards Development Organization.

Image Map - A Web graphic that has clickable links embedded within it. For example, a graphic of a heart may contain clickable links for each chamber, the valves, and the vessels. The links would lead to more explanation about each structure. On Web pages an image map is often used as a navigation bar.

IMAP (Internet Mail Access Protocol) - The protocol that permits an email client software to access remote messages.

IMIA - International Medical Informatics Association. An interdisciplinary informatics organization. AMIA is the official U.S. representative.

Go to the top of the page

Importing a file - Accessed from the file menu, this process does a real-time conversion of a file from the format of one application program to that of the application program that is retrieving the file. Allows the retrieving application program to use the data from another application program.

Index - 1) A list of words or phrases ('headings') and associated pointers ('locators') to where useful material relating to that heading can be found in a document. 2) the organization of data, i.e. a phone book is indexed by last name. 3) An organized map of contents.

Index Medicus - A print index published by NLM, which contains citations to the biomedical literature from journals reviewed and selected by the NLM Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC). Index Medicus includes indexing for approximately 15% of the nursing journals indexed in MEDLINE.

Inferential analysis -statistics used to make inferences from data to more general conditions. They allow us to support conclusions and make predictions about the properties of a population based on information obtained from a sample. Chi Square and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) are examples. Descriptive statistics tell us what's going on with the data.

Infinite loops - a condition caused by a series of programming instructions that are repeated over and over with no way to stop the loop without stopping the program. Although most examples are found in the programming world, electronic mailing lists provide an excellent example. If a subscriber to a listserv sets his or her email to automatically reply that the subscriber will be out of the office, when a message is received from the list the automatic reply is posted to the list which returns it to the subscriber whose email again automatically posts another message to the listserv ad infinitum. This lack of responsibility on the part of listserv subscribers has caused many lists to set their default reply to go just to the poster, which has reduced the discussions to only those who know enough to use the Reply All function when replying to a list message.

Informatics - the science of the management of information, generally interpreted to mean using computers to manage information.

Informatics nurse - a nurse who works in nursing informatics with on-the-job training.

Informatics nurse specialist - a nurse who works in nursing informatics, but who has either a master or doctoral degree or a post master or post doctoral certificate in informatics.

Information - data that has been interpreted. E.g. 37 is data. It becomes information when it is labeled Celsius. One of the core concept in the data>information>knowledge>wisdom nursing informatics theory. Differentiating between the terms is contextual.

Information Literacy - the ability to define a need for information, and the skills to locate, evaluate and synthesize information to meet this need.

Information Superhighway - a name given to the Internet, although as envisioned to evolve it will have an infrastructure that will support much faster transmission of data.

Go to the top of the page

Information technology - a subject that focuses on managing and processing information, usually within an agency. The department charged with this responsibility may be called the information technology (IT) department, the IS (Information Services) or MIS (Management of Information Services).

Information Technology Skills - the ability to understand and use the practical and conceptual tools of current information technology relevant to one's professional life. This would include searching a bibliographic database, selecting relevant information, and evaluating it to employ evidence-based practice. Also the ability to use current computer technology, an understanding of the foundations of technology that enable one to increase one technological skills when changes occur, and the intellectual capital to do so.

Initiating - a critical step in starting a project during which the project goals and needs (requirements) are identified and analyzed.

Innovator - in Rogers' Theory of Innovation an individual who quickly adopts an innovation. May be seen as disruptive to an organization by those who are averse to taking a risk.

Instructional Games - a game whose purpose is to provide motivation to students to learn the needed information, involves a level of competition. (page 396)

Intangibles - achievements that are not easily calculated or the results cannot be directly attributed to the investment. Examples can include improved communication, less time hunting for charts etc. Opposite of tangibles.

Institute Of Medicine (IOM) -An independent group that serves as adviser to the nation to improve health. Under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences this group provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.

Input - in general systems theory, information that a system gains in some manner. In a computer system, data that is entered into the system either manually or automatically.

Insert - to enter information. In many cases this is a mode, that allows information to be entered anyplace on the screen, especially in word processors, by making room for it instead of typing over it which is overtype mode.

Insertion point - a Windows term that means the screen location where whatever is typed will be placed. Is seen on the screen as a symbol that blinks. The exact symbol varies with the application program in use. May be referred to as the cursor.

Instant Messaging - real-time communication by computer when one party knows that another is online and available to receive the message. Can provide communication between a number of parties simultaneously. Requires special software.

Integrated Advanced Information Management System (IAIMIS) - a system begun at the University of Washington in Seattle to assist organizations in integrating various computer systems. Now working to integrate institutions in the region.

Integrated Interface - selection of a collection of health information systems that are already interfaced. They may not all be best-of-breed, but they do avoid interface difficulties.

Integration testing - testing the  interface and communication network functionality of a system.

Integrated Review - see meta-analysis

Interactive processing (also known as transaction processing) - a method of processing information by a computer in which the computer responds immediately to user requests which are termed transactions. Giving a command to a spreadsheet and getting a response is a transaction.

Interactive video - a part of computer educational history. In this format a program a video source was integrated with a computer program. Sources for the video included a video tape, a laser disk or CD-ROM. All but the CD-ROM required a video player (either disk or tape), a card inside the computer and software to integrate it all. Created many technical difficulties! Today, all is integrated on a CD-ROM, or on the Web.

Go to the top of the page

Intedisciplinary terminology - a healthcare terminology that can be used by all healthcare disciplines. SNOMED CT and LOINC are examples.

Interface - In computerese, this term can be either a noun or a verb. When used as a noun it refers to the software program that a user manipulates to give commands to the computer. As a verb it signifies how two devices communicate, that is, how they transmit data between them. For example, when a computer sends information to the printer, it is interfacing with the printer. This type of interface besides requiring a physical connection, also requires a piece of software known as a driver. It can also refer to the ability of different computer systems to exchange data with another.

Interface terminology - a standardized terminology that is used by clinicians to enter data into a computerized information system. NANDA, the Omaha System, and the PNDS are examples of interface terminologies in nursing. Are often "mapped' to Reference terminologies.

Interlace - a technique used in monitors to produce more resolution. If a monitor is interlaced, the electron guns only draw half the horizontal lines with each pass and the other half on the next pass. Because only half the lines are refreshed at once, twice as many lines can be displayed per refresh cycle. Unfortunately, it also reduces the speed that the monitor shows images. Interlacing will actually produce higher resolution, but it slows down the speed with which the computer shows images thus it may produces screen flicker. Most monitors are non-interlaced. See non-interlaced.

International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP) - a system developed by the International Council of Nurses to enable the description and comparison of nursing data for clinical populations around the world. One of the ANA recognized standardized terminologies. See chapter 16 for more information.

International Nursing Index - a nursing index. Included as a part of the Medline database since 1966. It is the electronic equivalent the print index sponsored by the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing

International Health Technology Standards Development Organization (IHSTDO). An not-for-profit association that develops and promotes use of SNOMED CT to support safe and effective health information exchange. SNOMED CT is a clinical terminology and is considered to be the most comprehensive, multilingual healthcare terminology in the world. The ICNP is part of IHTSDO. See chapter 16 for more information

Internet protocol (IP) - one of the two Internet protocols, the IP is responsible for locating the computer in either an email address or Web address (known as an URL) and directing the message or in the case of the WWW, the request for a file, to the correct location. See IP addresses

Internet - A world wide network of computers that traces its origins to 1969. It enables email and provides access to the World Wide Web.

Internet Service Providers (ISP) - a company that provides a connection to the Internet. ISPs can be an online service, that is offer many features, or a plain vanilla ISP offering only a way to connect to the Internet.

Go to the top of the page

Internet Service Provider (ISP) - is a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services

Interoperability - the ability of two or more electronic systems to exchange and use information. See Chapter 15.

Intranauts - a nickname for those who cruise, use and innovate on the Internet

Intranet - Networks which are accessed using a web browser, but are only available to users within a specific organization. See extranet.

Invisible Web - the portion of the web that is not accessible to search tools. It may be password protected, or it may be a page created on the fly, e.g. the page created when search a bibliographic database.

IOM - see Institute of Medicine

IP address - although the usual way that a computer on the Internet is addressed is through a name, each of these names is backed up by a number assigned to the computer. The address is four numbers from one to 255 separated by a period. Internet routers have an updated list of IP addresses and refer to this list when a computer name is used in an address.The IANA (Intenet Assigned Names Authority is officially out of IP addresses, although temporary solutions have allowed IPv4 to still function. To solve the problem of IP address exhaustion, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6, or the 6th version of IP addressing. Although IPv4 still carries the majority of Internet traffic, it will eventually replace IPv4. IPv6 has a 128 bit address which allows many more IP addresses than the 32 bit IPv4. IPv6 addresses are represented by eight groups of four digits separated by colons. To give you an idea of the greater number of addresses that IPv6 can handle, IPv4 can only handle 4,300,000,000 IP addresses, while IPv6 has room for3,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IP addresses. Unfortunately, IPv6 is not designed to be interoperable with IPv4 and requires requires translator gateways or other transition technologies to allow communication between the two different protocols. IP addresses can be dynamic or static

iPad - a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including e-books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content.

IR Port - a port which sends and receives infrared signals from other devices. It is a wireless type port with a limited range of 5-10ft. You can buy it as a USB device or you can buy it as an add-on to your motherboard. Read more:

ISDN - An acronym for integrated services digital network, which is a special type of telephone line that allows a data transfer rate of 64 kbps (Kilobits per second - remember that a bit is 1/8th of a byte) which is four or five times the rate provided by the fastest modems. An ISDN line sends information digitally and does not require a modem.

ISP - see Internet Service Provider

Java - a programming language that allows any program written in this language to be used with any operating system.

Java Script - a scripting language that is interpreted in run-time that runs in Web browsers. It easily interacts with HTML elements.

Jaz disk - a disk that can contain from 1-4 gigabytes of data. It is portable diskette and is inserted into a special drive known as a jaz drive. They are fairly obsolete now, replaced by flash drives connected to a USB port.

Go to the top of the page

JCAHO - Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

Joy stick - a device for moving a pointer on the screen. It consists of a box with a stick that protrudes vertically from the box. Moving the stick causes the screen pointer to start moving in the direction that the stick was moved. To stop the pointer movement it is necessary to return the stick to an upright vertical position.

Justification - the alignment of text. Left or right justification lines up the text with the left or right margin respectively. Center justification centers every line. Full or justify makes all lines of text even with both margins. Unless you have access to a high quality software that equalizes the spacing between words left justified is the easiest to read.

Go to the top of the page

Created December 18, 2011

home Glossary index glossary index