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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alphabet Soup: A dictionary of HealthIT Acronyms

Today is my eldest daughter's 13th birthday, and she happens to share that date with Thedore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.  One of the Dr. Seuss books is On Beyond Zebra! which was the subtitle of a presentation I gave in 2007.  That presentation decoded several pages of acronyms related to Healthcare IT.  I've updated it for 2011 and present the contents here.

General Terminology
TLA – Three Letter Acronym
SDO – Standards Development Organization
DSTU – Draft Standard for Trial Use
HIT – Health Information Technology (also HealthIT)
TC – Technical Committee
TR – Technical Report
WG – Working Group
WGM – Working Group Meeting
(S)IG – (Special) Interest Group

Standards and Related Organizations
AES – Advanced Encryption Standard
ANSI – American National Standards Institute (1918)
ANSI/HITSP – Healthcare IT Standards Panel (2005 - 2010 successor to ANSI/HISB)
ANSI/HISB – Healthcare Informatics Standards Board (1995-2005 successor to ANSI/HISPP)
ANSI/HISPP – Healthcare Informatics Standards Planning Panel (1992-5)
ASTM – American Society for Testing and Materials now ASTM International (1898)
ASTM/E31 – Healthcare Informatics (1970)
CDA – HL7 Clinical Document Architecture
CCD – HL7 Continuity of Care Document (a CDA implementation of CCR)
CCR – ASTM Continuity of Care Record (E2369-05)
CHI – Consolidated Health Informatics (~2002)
CHI – Canada Health Infoway
Continua – Continua Health Aliance
CPT – Current Procedure Terminology (a product of the AMA below)

DICOM – Digital Imaging and Communications In Medicine (1993)
HL7 – Health Level 7 (1987)
IHE – Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (1998)
IETF – Internet Engineering Task Force (1986)
ICD – International Classification of Diseases (from the WHO)

ICD-9-CM – International Classification of Diseases - Clinical Modificatins
ICD-10-CM – International Classification of Diseases - Clinical Modificatins
ICD-10-PCS – CMS Developed Procedure Classification System to use with ICD-10-CM
ISO – International Organization for Standardization (1947)
ISO TC-215 – ISO Health Informatics (1998)
IHTSDO – International Heatlh Terminology Standards Development Organization (2007)
LOINC – Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (1994)
NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology (1901)
OASIS – Formerly SGML-Open (1993), now Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (1998)
RFC  – Request for Comments (an IETF publication)
SNOMED-CT – Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terminology
TLS – Transport Layer Security (IETF RFC 2246)
UMLS – Unified Medical Language System
V2 – HL7 Version 2 Messaging Standard

V3 – HL7 Version 3 Messaging Standard
W3C – World Wide Web Consortium (1994)
WHO – World Health Organization
X12 – Accredited Standards Committee X12 (1979)
X12N – Subcommittee N of X12 on Insurance

Professional Societies and Related Organizations
AAFP – American Academy of Family Physicians
AAP – American Academy of Pediatrics
ACC – American College of Cardiology
ACP – American College of Physicians
ACR – American College of Radiology
AHIMA – American Health Information Management Association
AMA – American Medical Association
CAP – College of American Pathologists
CCHIT – Certification Commission for Healthcare IT

EHRA – HIMSS EHR Association
JC(AHO) – The Joint Commission (formerly Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)
HIMSS – Healthcare Information Management Systems Society
MITA - Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (a division of NEMA)
MMS – Massachusetts Medical Society
NEMA – National Electrical Manufacturers Association
NQF – National Quality Forum
RSNA – Radiological Society of North America

US Federal Government Agencies
AHRQ  – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
CDC – Center for Disease Control
CMS – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
DOD – US Department of Defense
FDA – Food and Drug Administration
HCFA – Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS)
(D)HHS – (US Department of) Health and Human Services
MHS – Military Health System (part of DOD)
NCHS – National Center for Health Statistics (part of CDC) not to be confused with NCVHS
NIH – National Institutes of Health
NLM – National Library of Medicine (part of the NIH)
ONC(HIT) – Office of the National Coordinator of Healthcare IT
TRICARE  – Health care program serving US military, retirees and their families (part of DOD)
VA  – US Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA – Veterans Health Administration (part of the VA)

Federal Advisory Committees
AHIC – American Health Information Community (2005-2008)
HITPC – Health Information Technology Policy Committee
HITSC – Health Information Technology Standards Committee
NCVHS – National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (part of HHS), not to be confused with NCHS
Laws and Regulation
ARRA – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
HITECH  – The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (Title XIII of ARRA)
HIPAA – Health Information Portability and Accountability Act
PIDEPA – (Canada) Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
MU – Meaningful Use

Other Stuff

NHII – National Health Information Infrastructure
NHIN – A trademark of the National Health Information Network, Inc.
NwHIN – The Nationwide Health Information Network (An ONC initiative that is the successor to NHII and formerly referred to as NHIN).

P.S.  On a completely unrelated note: one of my daughter's birthday presents was to get her ears peirced.  To show her it didn't hurt, I had my left ear done (I'm saving the other for my youngest daughter).


  1. Does every industry have so many acronyms? And this doesn't even cover all the HL7 acronyms! It can be a bit overwhelming to those just getting into the Health IT industry (such as myself!). I'm going to see if there's a good App for creating your own word a day tool to help learn all the terms.

  2. Woaaahhh.. I didn't even realize such number of acronyms, thanks for sharing.