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Jargon Buster

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The SCATA Jargon Buster is a compilation of many of the confusing terms and acronyms used in Health Informatics. It was compiled from various sources and is maintained by the SCATA membership.
If you are are a SCATA member, you can add and edit jargon terms from the member's area
Non-members can use the contact page to submit a new term or acronym, or to update an existing one.

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Term or Acronym

Definition

Explanation

PACS

Picture Archiving and Communication System

Uses DICOM standard. Electronic store for digital images, mostly diagnostic.

PAS

Patient Administration System

Deals with appointments, waiting lists, admissions, discharges, and transfers. Also provides information for Government returns regarding hospital activity.

PDA

Personal Digital Assistant

A handheld computer designed to be used in conjunction with a desktop PC, e.g. Palm or Pocket PC devices.

PFI

Private Finance Initiative

The Government’s method of getting private companies and banks to finance public sector projects, e.g building a new hospital. A property developer may, for instance win the contract to build a new hospital. To build the hospital the developer borrows money from a bank. The NHS leases the hospital from the developer for an annual fee. After 30 or more years the NHS will have paid off the developer’s ‘mortgage’, the developer will have made a decent profit, and the hospital reverts to NHS ownership. The bank loan/mortgage will never have appeared on the Government’s balance sheet so the Government has not broken the conditions of the Maastricht Treaty and the European Stability Pact by increasing public spending.

Phishing

 

The attempt to acquire (fraudulently) information such as banking details and passwords by masquerading online as a reputable business or organisation. In 2006 there was a huge increase in emails with phishing 'scams'. Some email clients (e.g. Mozilla Thunderbird) have implemented phishing filters.

PINO

PRINCE in name only

Unofficial acronym for projects that pay only lip service to PRINCE 2 management principles.

PMIP

Pathology Messaging Implementation Programme

 

Podcasting

 

A portmanteau word from iPod + broadcasting, describing how radio stations make programmes available for download onto digital music players.

POTS

Plain Old Telephone System

 

PPA

Prescription Pricing Authority

Authority that ensures high street chemists are paid for dispensing prescriptions. Also provides information on prescribing trends, drug costs, etc.

PPID

Positive Patient Identification

A term used to describe systems that attempt to tie the patient to his or her electronic record using (for example) bar-coded identity wrist bands or RFID tags.

PRINCE 2

Projects in Controlled Environments (version 2).

The UK Government’s approved methodology for managing complex projects such as implementation of an EPR.