Must-know tech terms for health care administrators

Health care administrators will need to be familiar with certain tech terms.One of the main jobs of health care administrators is to help improve the efficiency and quality of medical care given by physicians, people with careers in medical assisting and other health care professionals.1 Increasingly, this means being tech savvy, because technology is changing the field of health care. If you are considering a career in health care administration, make sure you know these essential tech terms:

Bar coding:

Similar to the process used in grocery stores and other non-medical environments, bar coding involves the use of a scanner to capture and read information. While it is most commonly used for medication, bar coding has been expanded to other areas of health care, including the tracking and identification of lab devices.2

Chart conversion:

Currently being undertaken by many health care providers, chart conversion is the process by which data from patients’ paper charts is inputted into an electronic medical record system.2

Clinical decision support system:

CDSS technologies are capable of providing physicians, nurses and other health care professionals with diagnostic and treatment recommendations in real-time. CDSS may be incorporated into electronic health records.3

Document imaging:

The process of creating an electronic image from a paper document by scanning it and saving that image in a computer file.2

Electronic Health Records:

EHRs are electronic histories of patients’ individual health records. They include data from all sources of patient care and can be accessed across networks, meaning both primary care physicians and specialists can instantly access a patient’s medical history.4

Electronic materials management:

EMM is used by health care organizations to manage and track inventory, such as pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.3

Electronic Medical Records:

EMRs are a computerized history of a patient’s individual health record within a single practice. They differ from EHRs in that they only contain information about care that was delivered in one particular delivery setting.2

Health information technology:

This is the general term used to refer to all digital or computerized processes used in the field of health care. This can range from the automation of certain administrative tasks to the use of EMRs and linking clinical information to billing systems.4

Matural language processing:

This technology offers voice transcription, reducing some of the inefficiencies of collecting patient data. It is being implemented in some EHRs. The hope is that natural language processing with save the health care industry both time and money.5 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘What Medical and Health Service Managers Do,’ March 29, 2012 – 2 Texas Medical Association, ‘Health Information Technology Terms,’ 2013 – 3 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, ‘Information technology in  health care,’ June 2004 – 4 actusMSO Healthcare Management Services, ‘Glossary on Electronic Health Information Technologies,’ 2011 – 5 MedCity News, ‘A healthcare innovator’s guide to must-know tech terms for the next decade of medicine,’ Aug. 26, 2013 –

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