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HiNZ Acronym Dictionary
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What does it all mean?

Health informatics is the intersection of the domains of healthcare, business and IT. Each of these domains has its own unique acronyms, so the marriage of all three was guaranteed to create acronym-soup!


The HiNZ Acronym Dictionary is designed to make your live easier.


This dictionary provides explanations of many abbreviations (acronyms) commonly used within the digital health sector. The acronyms are in alphabetical order. If you’d like to suggest another acronym please email Kylie at HiNZ.


HiNZ wishes to thank Leo Suen, student at the University of Auckland, who did many hours of research to help us create this dictionary.


 Acronym  Expanded Term  Definitions  Sources (Retrieved from)
 ABNF Augmented Backus–Naur form  A language used to define the formal syntax of another language in computer science.
Used to define syntax for Internet specifications. 
Defined by Internet Standard 68, RFC 5234.
 ACC Accident Compensation Corporation    
 ACK General Acknowledgment message  The ACK message is used to respond to a message where there has been an error that precludes application processing or where the application does not define a special message type for the response.  
 ADL Activities of Daily Living Activities of Daily Living or ADLs is a term used by healthcare professionals to refer to the basic self-care tasks an individual does on a day-to-day basis. These activities are fundamental in caring for oneself and maintaining independence
Admission, Discharge and Transfer (ADT) message
These are most common HL7v2 messages built for handling admission, discharge and cancellation of Patient information in a very efficient and easier way.
Artificial Intelligence An area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.

Marr, B. (2018). The Key Definitions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) That Explain Its Importance. Retrieved 22nd April 2019, from:

Abbreviated Injury Scale
The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) is an anatomically-based, consensus-derived, global severity scoring system that classifies each injury by body region according to its relative importance on a 6-point ordinal scale. AIS is the basis for the Injury Severity Score (ISS) calculation of the multiply injured patient.
 API Application Programming Interface
The way an application programming interface operates is similar to a user interface, which facilitates interaction between humans and computers.
ASP  Application Service Provider
A company that offers individuals or enterprises access to applications and related services over the internet. The term has largely been replaced by software as a service (SaaS) provider, although in some parts of the world, companies use the two labels interchangeably
Asynchronous Transfer Mode
A packet-based communication protocol that provides the high bandwidth transmission rates required for multimedia communication.

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from


Bi-directional Health Information Exchange
Bidirectional Health Information Exchange (BHIE) is a health information sharing project that builds on the previously established Federal Health Information Exchange (FHIE) program. The BHIE allows for two-way sharing of PHI data between the Department of Defense and the Veterans Health Administration. The data shared under BHIE includes pre- and post-deployment physicals and progress notes
BLAST Basic Local Alignment Search Tool
The Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) finds regions of local similarity between sequences. The program compares nucleotide or protein sequences to sequence databases and calculates the statistical significance of matches. BLAST can be used to infer functional and evolutionary relationships between sequences as well as help identify members of gene families
Computer Assisted Coding System
A computer assisted coding system (CACS) is software that analyses healthcare documents and produces appropriate medical codes for specific phrases and terms within the document.
Continuity of Care Document
The Continuity of Care Document (CCD) is built using HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) elements and contains data that is defined by the ASTM Continuity of Care Record (CCR). It is used to share summary information about the patient within the broader context of the personal health record
Continuity of Care Record
Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is an XML-based standard for the movement of “documents” between clinical applications. Furthermore, it responds to the need to organize and make transportable a set of basic information about a patient’s health care that is accessible to clinicians and patients. Read Understanding the Continuity of Care Record white paper
CDA Clinical Document Architecture
Clinical Document Architecture is a popular, flexible mark up standard developed by Health Level 7 International (HL7) that defines the structure of certain medical records, such as discharge summaries and progress notes, as a way to better exchange this information between providers and patients.

TechTarget (2015). Definition: Clinical Document Architecture. Retrieved 22nd April 2019, from:


Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium
An open, multidisciplinary, non- profit organization committed to the development of industry standards to support the electronic acquisition, exchange, submission and archiving of clinical trials data and metadata for medical and biopharmaceutical product development
Clinical Data Repository
Real time database that consolidates data from a variety of clinical sources to present a unified view of a single patient. 
From It contains a nationally agreed core set of clinical information, and additional clinical data to be determined by each region. The data repositories will be accessed through a clinical workstation. (Ministry of Health, 2017)
Clinical Decision Support
The use of different tools in provide intelligently selected knowledges and personal-specific information to clinicians, health researchers, patients and individuals. CDS can be helpful in assisting people in decision making processes
Clinical Data Warehouse
A data warehouse is a repository of historical data organized for reporting and analysis. It facilitates data access by having data from many sources in one place, linked together, and easily searchable.
Clinical information system
A computer-based system focusing in collecting, storing, manipulating and getting clinical information ready for other uses such as Electronic Medical Records and Clinical Decision Support.
Computerised Physician Order Entry
The process of a medical professional entering and sending medication orders and treatment instructions electronically via a computer application instead of on paper charts.
CPR  Computer-based Patient Record
An electronic patient record that resides in a system specifically designed to support users by providing accessibility to complete and accurate data, alerts, reminders, clinical decision support systems,3 links to medical knowledge, and other aids

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Improving the Patient Record (1997) Introduction. In Dick R.S., Steen E.B., Detmer D.E., [ed.]. The Computer-Based Patient Record: Revised Edition: An Essential Technology for Health Care. Washington (D.C.): National Academies Press (US). Retrieved from:

Current Procedural Technology
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) is a medical code set that is used to report medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures and services to entities such as physicians, health insurance companies and accreditation organizations.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a strategy for managing an organisation's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
Computer-supported co-operative work
Software tools and technology that supports a group of individuals working on projects at different sites. It is based on the principle of group coordination and collaborative activities supported through computer systems.
CTAG Clinical & Technology Advisory Group for HiNZ
A multi-disciplinary group drawn from HiNZ clinician members, or members with a background in clinical practice.

Purpose of the group is to provide advice, according to government health informatic strategies, on the best approaches to the stakeholders of HiNZ
CTS 2 Common Terminology Service 2
Developed by HL7, an application programming interface (API) specification of the basic functional requirements used to query and access terminological content.
Directed acyclic graph
A set of nodes connected to one another by lines (edges) in which each connection has a specified direction such that no route that follows the direction of the connections enters a loop (cycle).
DIA NZ Department of internal Affairs
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine
Version 3 of DICOM defines image data as well as patient, study and visit information necessary to provide the context for the images. This version incorporates an object-oriented data model and adds support for ISO Standard communications.
description logic
A representation of semantic knowledge that allows formal reasoning to be applied based on axioms.
Decision supporting system
A decision support system (DSS) is a computer program application that analyses data and presents it so that users can make decisions more easily.
Draft Standard for Trial Use
A specification and process to allow implementers to test a standard.
Dial Tone Multifrequency
A telecommunication signalling system using the voice-frequency band over telephone lines between telephone equipment and other communications devices and switching centres
Annabel, Z. D. (2012). The essential guide to telecommunications (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780137058914. OCLC 779863446.
Electronic Data Capture
Electronic data capture (EDC) is the computerized collection and management of clinical trial data from patients and subjects.

An EDC system uses technology to streamline the collection and transmission of clinical trial data from the patient to the research laboratory. The process reduces data errors to provide researchers with improved data quality. In addition, it speeds up the entire clinical trial process, thus reducing research costs.
Electronic Data Interchange
General term describing the need for healthcare applications to be able to exchange data and requiring the adoption of agreed-on common standards for the form and content of the messages passing between applications

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from

Electronic Document Management System
A software system that handles digital documents, rather than paper documents, although in some instances, these systems may also handle digital scanned versions of original paper documents
Electronic health records
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centred records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. While an EHR does contain the medical and treatment histories of patients, an EHR system is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care
Electronic Lab Reporting
The automated messaging of laboratory reports sent using one or more electronic communication protocols
Electronic Medical Administration Records
A Medication Administration Record or MAR (eMAR for electronic versions) is the report that serves as a legal record of the drugs administered to a patient at a facility by a health care professional. The MAR is a part of a patient's permanent record on their medical chart. The health care professional signs off on the record at the time that the drug or device is administered.
Enterprise Master Patient Index
The Master Patient Index identifies patients across separate clinical, financial and administrative systems and is needed for information exchange to consolidate the patient list from the various RPMS databases.
The MPI contains records for all the patients from all of the IHS facilities. They are supplied by RPMS in HL7 messages. Each facility record belongs to an enterprise record, which is created by the MPI. Two facility records that represent the same real-life person belong to the same enterprise record. An enterprise record contains its own set of patient demographics called the Single Best Record, which is calculated from the demographics data of its facility records.
Electronic Medical Records
An electronic medical record (EMR) is a digital version of all the information you’d typically find in a provider’s paper chart: medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, allergies, lab results and doctor’s notes.
EMRs are online medical records of the standard medical and clinical data from one provider’s office, mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment. Comprehensive and accurate documentation of a patient’s medical history, tests, diagnosis and treatment in EMRs ensures appropriate care throughout the provider’s clinic.
Electronic Nursing Records
A general term describing computer-based patient record systems designed mainly for the use of nurses

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from

Electronic Remittance Advice
An electronic data interchange (EDI) version of a medical insurance payment explanation. It provides details about providers' claims payment, and if the claims are denied, it would then contain the required explanations. The explanations include the denial codes and the descriptions, which present at the bottom of ERA
Electronic Signature Authentication
Electronic Signature Authentication (ESA) Software lets physicians and other care providers view, edit, annotate and electronically sign patient documents in the facility, at a home office, or on the road
EUropean CLInical Data Exchange Standard
provides a standard for clinical laboratory data exchange between independent and heterogeneous medical information systems.
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is an interoperability standard for electronic exchange of healthcare information. FHIR was developed by Health Level Seven International (HL7)
Foundational Model of Anatomy
The Foundational Model of Anatomy Ontology (FMA) is an evolving computer-based knowledge source for biomedical informatics; it is concerned with the representation of classes or types and relationships necessary for the symbolic representation of the phenotypic structure of the human body in a form that is understandable to humans and is also navigable, pursuable and interpretable by machine-based systems.
Fully specified name A term unique among active descriptions in SNOMED CT that names the meaning of a concept code in a manner that is intended to be unambiguous and stable across multiple contexts.
File transfer Protocol
A computer protocol that allows electronic files to be sent and received in a uniform fashion across a computer network.
Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from
General practitioner
General practitioners (GPs) treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. They focus on the health of the whole person combining physical, psychological and social aspects of care
Global System for Mobile Communication
A widely adopted international standard for the architecture and operation of digital cellular telephony systems that can carry voice and data circuits, as well as short packet-data messages
Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-585. Retrieved from
Graphical User Interface
That part of a computer application seen and interacted with by its user. Specifically, that part of the interface that is based upon visual structures such as icons, which act as metaphors for the different functions supported by the application Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-586. Retrieved from
Health Information Exchange
Electronic health information exchange (HIE) allows doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health care providers and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically—improving the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Hospital Information System Typically used to describe hospital computer systems with functions such as patient admission and discharge, order entry for laboratory tests or medications and billing functions
Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-587. Retrieved from
Health Information Sharing Environment
Health information Service Provider
Health Information Technology Information technologies applied to health and healthcare.
Health Level 7
The seventh level of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) seven-layer communications model for Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) - the application level. The application level interfaces directly to and performs common application services for the application processes. Although other protocols have largely superseded it, the OSI model remains valuable as a place to begin the study of network architecture.
Human Readable Concept Model
 A rendering of the machine-readable concept model rules designed to be included in guidance documents
The human readable concept model is generated by processing the machine-readable concept model to ensure that it accurately reflects the rules.
Health Technology assessment The HTA approach is used to inform policy and decision-making in health care, especially on how best to allocate limited funds to health interventions and technologies. The assessment is conducted by interdisciplinary groups using explicit analytical frameworks, drawing on clinical, epidemiological, health economic and other information and methodologies.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.
International Classification of Diseases
ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion. 
Information and Communication Technology
ICT refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar to Information Technology (IT) but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.
Integrated Data Infrastructure
The Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) is a large research database containing microdata about people and households
Integrated Delivery System Also known as integrated delivery network (IDN), is a health system with a goal of logical integration of the delivery (provision) of health care as opposed to a fragmented system or a disorganized lack of system.
International Non-proprietary Names
International Non-proprietary Names (INN) facilitate the identification of pharmaceutical substances or active pharmaceutical ingredients. Each INN is a unique name that is globally recognized and is public property. A non-proprietary name is also known as a generic name.
Internet of Things
a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction
Internet Protocol
The Internet Protocol (IP) is the method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet. Each computer (known as a host) on the Internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers on the Internet.
intellectual property right
Patents, trademarks, service marks, copyright (including rights in computer software), moral rights, database rights, rights in designs, trade secrets, know-how and other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including applications for registration, and all rights or forms of protection having equivalent or similar effect in any jurisdiction.
international organisation for Standardisation
ISO is a network of the national standards institutes from over 160 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.
Knowledge base
The underlying set of facts, assumptions, and rules which a computer system has available to answer a question or solve a problem.
Knowledge Management System
A knowledge management system (KMS) is a system for applying and using knowledge management principles. These include data-driven objectives around business productivity, a competitive business model, business intelligence analysis and more
Local Area Network
A group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server.

Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes
A set of identifiers, names, and codes for identifying health measurements, observations, and documents to facilitate the exchange and aggregation of clinical results.
Managed Content Addition An implementation strategy in which additional concepts, descriptions, and relationships are created in an extension. Allows the use of precoordinated expressions to record electronic health information at the required level of detail.
Machine Readable Concept Model The Machine-Readable Concept Model (MRCM) represents rules in the SNOMED CT concept model in a form that can be read by a computer and applied to test that concept definitions and expressions comply with the rules. 
The MRCM may be used for a variety of purposes, including the authoring and validation of SNOMED CT concepts, expressions, expression constraints and queries, Natural Language Processing and terminology binding to support semantic interoperability.
Minimum Viable Product
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product's initial users.
National health index The National Health Index number (NHI number) is a unique number that is assigned to each person who receives healthcare in New Zealand. The NHI holds the following information: name, NHI number, address, date of birth, gender, New Zealand resident status, place of birth, citizenship status,  ethnicity, date of death. Clinical information is not recorded on the NHI.
Natural Language Processing
A service in which a computer system converts human-readable text and/or spoken language to formal representations of information.
National Minimum Data Set The National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) is a national collection of public and private hospital discharge information, including coded clinical data for inpatients and day patients.
Necessary normal form
The necessary normal form is designed to represent an inferred view derived from the enhanced concept definitions in a form that can be distributed in the relationship file. Although the enhanced features cannot be fully represented within the structure of the relationship file, the necessary normal form provides a view of the results of classifying data that is accessible to those without access to description logic tools.
Observation/result message
OBX is intended to cover all types of patient specific observation reports except pharmacy

Online Analytical Processing
A computing method that enables users to easily and selectively extract and query data in order to analyse it from different points of view.
Object Request Broker Object Request Broker (ORB) is the programming that acts as a "broker" between a client request for a service from a distributed object or component and the completion of that request. https://searchmicroservices
General Order Message The function of this message is to initiate the transmission of information about an order. This includes placing new orders, cancellation of existing orders, discontinuation, holding, etc. ORM messages can originate also with a placer, filler or an interested third party
Web Ontology Language Web Ontology Language (OWL) is a Semantic Web language designed to represent rich and complex knowledge about things, groups of things, and relations between things. OWL is a computational logic-based language such that knowledge expressed in OWL can be exploited by computer programs.
Patient centred Medical Home
The Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH) is a care delivery model whereby patient treatment is coordinated through their primary care physician to ensure they receive the necessary care when and where they need it, in a manner they can understand
The objective is to have a centralized setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, and their personal physicians, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
Personal Digital Assistant
A term for a small, mobile, handheld device that provides computing and information storage and retrieval capabilities for personal or business use, often for keeping schedules, calendars and address book information handy.
Personal Health Application
An electronic program used primarily by healthcare consumers to manage health. May connect to PHRs and ultimately to providers
Weitzman, E. R., Kaci, L., & Mandl, K. D. (2009). Acceptability of a personally controlled health record in a community-based setting: implications for policy and design. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 11(2), e14. doi: 10.2196/jmir.1187
Protected Health Information
Any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that is created or collected by a Covered Entity (or a Business Associate of a Covered Entity) and can be linked to a specific individual. This is interpreted rather broadly and includes any part of a patient's medical record or payment history.
Personal Health Records
A PHR is a document that you are in charge of-one that you compile, update, and keep. It can simply be a folder full of papers, but people are increasingly turning to electronic personal health record systems. These store health information in a secure location online that you can access anytime
Privacy Impact Assessment Privacy impact assessment enables public and private bodies to make informed choices. It will often be the case that a privacy enhancing solution will be no more difficult or costly to implement than an intrusive one, if the option is identified sufficiently early in project planning.
Public Key Infrastructure
The Public key infrastructure (PKI) is the set of hardware, software, policies, processes, and procedures required to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and public-keys. The PKI is the foundation that enables the use of technologies, such as digital signatures and encryption, across large user populations. PKIs deliver the elements essential for a secure and trusted business environment for e-commerce and the growing Internet of Things (IoT).
Point of Care The term point of care is most often used to indicate a particular healthcare service or health product is carried out or delivered at the location where the patient is being seen or treated
Public Switched Telephone Network
The international telephone system that uses copper wires to carry analog voice data. It consists of a collection of individual telephones that are hardwired to a public exchange
Quality Reporting Document Architecture
A QRDA report is an aggregate quality report. Each report contains calculated summary data for one or more measures for a specified population of patients within a particular health system over a specific period of time
Record Locator Service
Provides the ability to identify where records are located based upon criteria such as a Person ID and/or record data type, as well as providing functionality for the ongoing maintenance of this location information.
Retrieved from:
Real World Data
Anything OTHER than RCT (randomized controlled trails) generated data, data derived from: Prospective observational studies, Non-interventional observations, Database studies, Prospective registries create a database, Retrospective databases created for other reasons, Medical records, Data abstraction. 

In general, real world data are observations of effects based on what happens after a prescriptive (treatment) decision is made where the researcher does not or cannot control who gets what treatment and does not or cannot control the medical management of the patient beyond observing outcomes.
Storage Area Network
A specialized, high-speed network that provides block-level network access to storage. SANs are typically composed of hosts, switches, storage elements, and storage devices that are interconnected using a variety of technologies, topologies, and protocols
SNOMED CT compositional Grammar
The set of rules that govern the way in which SNOMED CT expressions are represented as a plain text string
Summary care record
A general term describing a high-level view of the computer-based patient record, typically restricted to a small number of information items considered most useful in quickly gaining an overview of a patient’s health circumstance

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from

Shared decision making
A collaborative process between patient and health professional that explores both what is known from best scientific evidence but also explores a patient’s values and preferences

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-585. Retrieved from

A modelling approach used in SNOMED CT to represent anatomical entities such as body organs, systems, or regions.
Structure is the most general way to refer to an organ, body system, or region. 
Entire refers to a complete organ, body system, or region. Part refers to a part of an organ, body system, or region. 
Part does not refer to the entire organ, body system, or region.
Standard General Markup Language A text mark-up language that serves as a superset of widely used mark up languages like HTML (hypertext mark-up language) and XML (extensible mark-up language)
Used for marking up documents and has the advantage of not being dependent on a specific application. It is derived from GML (generalized mark-up language), which allowed users to work on standardized formatting styles for electronic documents.
Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms
A general name for a series of clinical terminologies owned, managed and licensed by SNOMED International
Service oriented Architecture
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a way of organizing software.
SOA involves the deployment of services, which are units of logic that run in a network.
Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts
An online programme designed to help young people with mild to moderate depression. It can also help people with anxiety and stress. The programme teaches people about skills of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is used to treat mental disorders
Structured Query Language
A language for specifying the organization of databases (collections of records). Databases organized with SQL are called relational because SQL provides the ability to query a database for information that falls in a given relation. Commercial database programs commonly use a SQL-like language for their queries.
Secure Sockets Layer
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force injures the brain.
Transport Layer Security
TLS is a cryptographic protocol that provides end-to-end communications security over networks and is widely used for internet communications and online transactions.
User Acceptance Testing
User Acceptance Testing (UAT), also known as beta or end-user testing, is defined as testing the software by the user or client to determine whether it can be accepted or not. This is the final testing performed once the functional, system and regression testing are completed.
User Interface
The user interface (UI) is everything designed into an information device with which a person may interact. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. It is also the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website
Unified Medical Language System
A comprehensive metavocabulary maintained by the US National Library of Medicine that combines more than 100 individual standardized vocabularies. The UMLS is composed of the Metathesaurus, the Specialist Lexicon and the Semantic Network. The largest component of the UMLS is the Metathesaurus, which contains the term string, concept grouping of terms and concept interrelationships.

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-585. Retrieved from

Uniform Resource Identifier
A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters that unambiguously identifies a particular resource. To guarantee uniformity, all URIs follow a predefined set of syntax rules, but also maintain extensibility through a separately defined hierarchical naming scheme
Uniform Resource Locator
One kind of URI
This type of URI begins by stating which protocol should be used to locate and access the physical or logical resource on a network. If the resource is a web page, for example, the URI will begin with the protocol HTTP. If the resource is a file, the URI will begin with the protocol FTP or if the resource is an email address, the URI will begin with the protocol mailto
Uniform Resource Name
This type of URI does not state which protocol should be used to locate and access the resource; it simply labels the resource with a persistent, location-independent unique identifier. A URN will identify the resource throughout its lifecycle and will never change.
Universal Trial Number
The aim of the Universal Trial Number (UTN) is to facilitate the unambiguous identification of clinical trials. The UTN is not a registration number. The UTN is a number that should be obtained early in the history of the trial.
Universally unique identifier
A UUID (Universal Unique Identifier) is a 128-bit number used to uniquely identify some object or entity on the Internet.

The UUID relies upon a combination of components to ensure uniqueness. A guaranteed UUID contains a reference to the network address of the host that generated the UUID, a timestamp (a record of the precise time of a transaction), and a randomly generated component.
Virtual health record
A Virtual Health Record (VHR) provides a virtual view of heterogeneous data sources, using a common data model.
In contrast to the data warehousing approach in which heterogeneous data is extracted, transformed and stored in a homogeneous form, the VHR approach does not require clinical data to be extracted from existing data stores. Instead, logical queries are defined in terms of a common data model and then transformed into a set of physical queries which can each be executed locally on an individual data store.
Virtual Learning Environment
a Web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions. They present resources, activities and interactions within a course structure and provide for the different stages of assessment. VLEs also usually report on participation; and have some level of integration with other institutional systems
World Wide Web Consortium
an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards
Wide Area Network
A wide area network (WAN) is a network that exists over a large-scale geographical area.
Wireless Local Area Network
A wireless distribution method for two or more devices that use high-frequency radio waves and often include an access point to the Internet. A WLAN allows users to move around the coverage area, often a home or small office, while maintaining a network connection
World Wide Web
An easy-to-use hypertext document system developed for the Internet that allows users to access multimedia documents.

Coiera, E. (2015). Glossary. In Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd E.d.). pp. 571-584. Retrieved from

Extensible Markup Language
A WC3 standard, it is the universal format for structured documents and data on the web

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