0203 866 4838 Contact us

The Channel 3 digital health glossary

The world of health and care is full of abbreviations and acronyms.

The Channel 3 digital health glossary is here to help! Scroll down the list below or click to jump to a particular letter. Is there something you would like to add? Contact us with your suggestion.



Adult social care (ASC)

Adult social care (ASC) provides personalised, practical support for people over 18. It supports them to live their lives the way they want. It preserves dignity and keeps people independent.

Learn more about ASC.

Allied health professions (AHP)

The Allied Health Professions (AHPs) are the third largest clinical workforce in health and care. In the main, they are degree-level professionals and are professionally autonomous practitioners. AHPs provide system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose, and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors.  Through adopting a holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs can help manage patients’ care throughout the life course from birth to palliative care. 

Application programming interface (API)

A software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Each time you use an app like Facebook, send an instant message or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an application programming interface (API).

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)

Promote higher standards of social care services and influence policies and decision-makers to transform the lives of people needing and providing care.


Business continuity plan

A business continuity plan is a collection of procedures and information that is developed, compiled and maintained in readiness for use in the event of a serious incident to enable an organisation to continue to deliver its critical activities at an acceptable pre-defined level.

Business Services Authority (BSA)

The NHS Business Services Authority is an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care.


Childhood health assessment questionnaire (CHAQ)

A patient-reported outcome measure used at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

NHS organisations set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to organise the delivery of NHS services in each of their local areas in England. On 1 July 2022, they were abolished and replaced by Integrated care systems as a result of the Health and Care Act 2022.

Clinical safety officer (CSO)

A clinical safety officer (CSO) is appointed to oversee the clinical risk assessment of a health IT product. The CSO will be expected to be involved in the risk assessment work and sign off documentation once it has been created. Often the CSO will write the documentation themself. They must ensure that a suitable safety process is in place and that it has been followed correctly.

Learn more: Health and care leaders, is clinical safety on your digital transformation agenda?

Clinical systems

Robust clinical systems are central to providing high-quality patient care. Reaching the full potential of a clinical system requires a well-planned implementation and optimisation programme that engages and enthuses the workforce.

Learn more: How Channel 3 can support clinical systems.

Commissioning data set (CDS)

The commissioning data sets (CDS) provide information about NHS-provided and NHS-funded secondary care activity. As a secondary uses data set, CDS re-uses clinical and operational data for purposes other than direct patient care. It specifies the data items, definitions and associated value sets to be extracted or derived from local information systems.

Community Dental Service (CDS)

Primary care dental services can be delivered in a community setting, they are known as community dental service (CDS). It is classed as specialised primary care, e.g. for the vulnerable or for those who suffer from anxiety when visiting the dentist.

Control of patient information (COPI) notice

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has issued NHS Digital with a notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) to require NHS Digital to share confidential patient information with organisations entitled to process this under COPI for COVID-19 purposes.

Core information standard (CIS)

The core information standard is a Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) standard that defines a set of information that can potentially be shared between systems in different sites and settings, among professionals and people using services.


The Core20PLUS5 initiative is designed to drive targeted health inequalities and to help prioritise commissioning intentions for future integrated care planning. Core 20, the most deprived 20% of the population in your region. PLUS, other population groups as identified by local population health data. 5, targeting five clinical areas of health inequalities.

Learn more: Core20PLUS5 – why ICSs need to implement a data-first approach to narrow the health inequality gap.


Data dictionary and model, NHS

The NHS data model and dictionary provides a reference point for approved information standards notices to support healthcare activities within the NHS in England. It has been developed for everyone who is actively involved in the collection of data and the management of information in the NHS.

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

The UK government department responsible for government policy on health and adult social care matters in England. It oversees the English National Health Service.

Dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d)

The dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) is a dictionary of descriptions and codes which represent medicines and devices in use across the NHS. The dm+d contains a huge variety of information, including:
• whether a product will be reimbursed by NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) if submitted for reimbursement by a dispensing contractor.
• the indicative price of each pack of a product (where a price is maintained by NHS BSA).
• current and discontinued products and packs available from manufacturers and suppliers.

Digital foundations

The devices, data centres, networks, processes and people that underpin everything you offer in the digital domain. Within large organisations, they comprise many thousands of commodity devices and typically account for over 60% of an IT budget.

Learn more: Digital foundations.

Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW)

Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) is the national organisation building and designing digital services for health and care in Wales.

Digital Social Care Record (DSCR) Programme

A Digital Social Care Record (DSCR) allows the digital recording of care information and care received by an individual, within a social care setting, replacing traditional paper records. DSCRs are person-centred and enable information to be shared securely and in real-time with authorised individuals across the health and care sector.

The Digitising Social Care Records Programme is aiming for all CQC-registered adult social care providers to have access to a digital social care record that can interoperate with a local Shared Care Record by 2024.

Learn more: Focusing on the Digital Social Care Record Programme.

Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) for health and social care

The Digital Technology Assessment Criteria for health and social care (DTAC) gives staff, patients and the public confidence that the digital health tools they use meet clinical safety, data protection, technical security, interoperability and usability and accessibility standards.

Director of Adult Social Services (DASS)

Responsible for ensuring that all of the social care needs of local communities are given equal emphasis and are managed in a coordinated way through joint strategic needs assessment and planning.

Disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented process or set of procedures to protect and recover business IT infrastructure and systems in the event of a disaster. It describes the steps necessary to recover the system to a working state; the acceptable amount of data loss to the business; and how long the recovery is expected to take.

Discharge to assess (D2A)

Where patients who do not require an acute hospital bed, but may still require care services are provided with short-term, funded support to be discharged to their own home (where appropriate) or another community setting.

Assessment for longer-term care and support needs is then undertaken in the most appropriate setting and at the right time for the person. Commonly used terms for this are: ‘discharge to assess’, ‘home first’, ‘safely home’ and ‘step down’.

Learn more: How can you use D2A funding to implement short- and medium-term plans that meet the needs of your population?


Electronic health record (EHR)

An electronic health record (EHR) is a longitudinal record of a patient’s health and healthcare from cradle to grave.

Electronic medical record (EMR)

The terms electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) are often used interchangeably.

Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM)

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) measures clinical outcomes, patient engagement and clinician use of EMR technology to strengthen organizational performance and health outcomes across patient populations.

Channel 3 is a certified member of the HIMSS Digital Health Technology Partner Program (DHTPP). You can also read our perspectives on HIMSS accreditation.

Electronic patient record (EPR)

An electronic patient record (EPR) is a high-tech electronic patient record system which modernises and improves the delivery of patient care across a Trust. It is a longitudinal record of periodic care provided mainly by one institution. Typically this relates to the healthcare provided by an acute hospital or a general practitioner (GP).

Learn more about EPR: Electronic Patient Record Implementation – Five Success Factors.

Electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA)

An electronic system that allows doctors to prescribe, nurses to administer medications, pharmacists to clinically review and reconcile medications and pharmacy technicians to input drug histories and order medications.

Read our article EPMA systems – success is not just about the technology and our EPMA case study of our work with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

Electronic prescription service (EPS)

Part of the NHS National Programme for IT of the National Health Service in England. It enables the electronic transfer of medical prescriptions from doctors (or other prescribers) to pharmacies and other dispensers and electronic notification to the reimbursement agency, NHS prescription services.

Electronic Referral Service (e-RS)

The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) is a national digital platform used to refer patients from primary care to elective care services. e-RS allows patients to choose their first outpatient hospital or clinic appointment and book it in the GP surgery, online or on the phone.


Foundation trust

An NHS foundation trust is a semi-autonomous organisational unit within the National Health Service in England. Foundation trusts have some managerial and financial freedom when compared to NHS trusts. The introduction of foundation trusts represented a change in the history of the National Health Service and the way in which hospital services are managed and provided.


Generative artificial intelligence (AI)

Generative AI refers to deep-learning models that can generate high-quality text, images and other content based on the data they were trained on. We wrote an article about the latest generation of AI products and how they can be used safely in healthcare, Generative AI is enabling computers to behave like humans.

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT)

A national programme designed to improve the treatment and care of patients through an in-depth review of services, benchmarking and presenting a data-driven evidence base to support change.


Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF)

The Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) provides a quick and easy route to access support services from innovative third-party suppliers at the leading edge of health and care system reform, including advanced analytics, population health management, digital and service transformation. It can be used by any NHS organisation, including NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), national Arm’s-Length Bodies, local authorities and a wide range of public sector bodies where they are supporting Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), or health and social care in general.

Healthcare Equality Index (HEI)

The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), maintained and updated by the Human Rights Campaign, is a national benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of LGBTQ patients and employees.

Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

An American not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care in quality, safety, cost-effectiveness and access through the best use of information technology and management systems.

Channel 3 is a certified member of the HIMSS Digital Health Technology Partner Program (DHTPP). You can also read our perspectives on HIMSS accreditation.


Information and communications technology (ICT)

Technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. The primary focus is on communication technologies, including the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.

Integrated care board (ICB)

A statutory NHS organisation which is responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in a geographical area.

Integrated care partnership (ICP)

A broad alliance of organisations and representatives concerned with improving the care, health and wellbeing of the population, jointly convened by local authorities and the NHS.

Integrated care system (ICS)

Integrated care systems (ICSs) are an evolution of the original 44 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) which were created across England between healthcare organisations and local authorities. The aim is to drive efficiency saving and positively transform care provision.

Learn more: Core20PLUS5 – why ICSs need to implement a data-first approach to narrow the health inequality gap.

Interoperability toolkit (ITK/ITK3)

The Interoperability toolkit (ITK) is a set of common specifications, frameworks and implementation guides. It supports interoperability within local organisations and across local health and social care communities.


Learning disability (LD)

Mencap defines a learning disability as a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example, household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. 

Learn more: Sector report – The future for people living with a learning disability.

Local Government Association (LGA)

The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national membership body for local authorities. Its core membership is made up of 339 English councils and 22 Welsh councils through the Welsh Local Government Association. The LGA is politically led and cross-party.

Local Health and Care Record (LHCR)

NHS England is investing in a number of Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) Exemplars that will enable the safe and secure sharing of an individual’s health and care information as they move between different parts of the NHS and social care. The local health and care record exemplar programme is designed to support local areas that are already adopting best practices in the collection, protection and ethical use of health and care data to go further, faster and encourage others to follow swiftly in their footsteps.


Multidisciplinary team (MDT)

The mechanism for organising and coordinating health and care services to meet the needs of individuals with complex care needs. The teams bring together the expertise and skills of different professionals to assess, plan and manage care jointly. Based in the community, and networked with primary care, MDTs are expected to work proactively to support individuals’ care goals.


National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

Dismantled in 2011, its core aim was to bring the NHS’ use of information technology into the 21st century, through the introduction of an integrated electronic patient record systems, and reforming the way that the NHS uses information, and hence to improve services and the quality of patient care.

NHS England (NHSE)

NHS England (NHSE) leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI)

The national regulator that oversees and supports the NHS to deliver and improve care for patients in England.

Nurse in charge (NIC)

A registered general nurse who in addition to her nursing duties is required by the employer to manage, supervise or direct three or more other workers.


Patient administration system (PAS)

Developed out of the automation of administrative paperwork in healthcare organisations, particularly hospitals, and are one of the core components of a hospital’s IT infrastructure. The patient administration system (PAS) records the patient’s demographics (e.g. name, home address, date of birth) and details all patient contact with the hospital, both outpatient and inpatient.

Patient-reported outcome measure (PROM)

Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) assess the quality of care delivered to NHS patients from the patient perspective. Currently covering two clinical procedures, PROMs calculate the health gains after surgical treatment using pre- and post-operative surveys.

Personal demographic service (PDS)

The personal demographics service (PDS) is the national electronic database of NHS patient details such as name, address, date of birth and NHS Number, which includes demographic information.

Personal held record (PHR)

A generic term for how somebody who receives care (patient, client, service user etc.) can access or in some cases contribute to or interact with their health and social care records.

Personalised care and support plan (PCSP) standard

Personalised care and support plan (PCSP) standard produced by the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB). The PRSB worked in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians and the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to develop a digital care and support planning standard, so care plans can be effectively shared between patients, carers and all the health and care professionals involved in that person’s care.

Picture archive and communication system (PACS)

Medical imaging technology used primarily in healthcare organizations to securely store and digitally transmit electronic images and clinically-relevant reports. The use of PACS eliminates the need to manually file and store, retrieve and send sensitive information, films and reports. Instead, medical documentation and images can be securely housed in off-site servers and safely accessed essentially from anywhere in the world using PACS software, workstations and mobile devices.

Population health management

Population health management refers to the process of improving clinical health outcomes of a defined group of individuals through improved care coordination and patient engagement supported by appropriate financial and care models.

Learn more: Population health management and joining the data dots to improve patient care.

Primary care commissioning committee (PCCC)

Enables the members to make collective decisions on the review, planning, and procurement of primary care services under delegated authority from NHS England.

Primary care network (PCN)

A primary care network (PCN) is made up of a group of GP practices working together, in partnership with the community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local area. PCNs provide the building blocks of delivery for integrated care systems (ICSs).

Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB)

The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) is a community interest company and as such its core aim is not commercial. The PRSB has a robust and sustainable business model to support its open and inclusive working methods. The PRSB receives revenue from commissions to set the scope when a standard is developed, for maintenance agreements and to provide services which promote the adoption and use of standards. These include first-of-type implementation projects and the Standards Partnership Scheme.


Referral assessment service (RAS)

The referral assessment service (RAS) is a referral system to enable English residents (registered with a Welsh GP practice) to access their choice of secondary care provider in England.  The RAS acts as a single point of contact for Welsh border GP practices to refer English cross-border patients to England for consultant-led secondary care.  The RAS offers English residents the choice of secondary care in England in line with NHS Constitutional rights or to be referred back to NHS Wales, to be treated under Welsh standards and policies if the patient wishes.

Robot Process Automation (RPA)

Also known as software robotics, uses automation technologies to mimic the back-office tasks of human workers, such as extracting data.

Learn more: RPA is discussed in this article Want help winning the war for health and care talent? Plough some of your efforts into digital.


Secondary Use Services (SUS)

The Secondary Uses Service (SUS) is the single, comprehensive repository for healthcare data in England which enables a range of reporting and analyses to support the NHS in the delivery of healthcare services.

Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO)

The Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) is a member of senior management who has overall responsibility for managing organisational information risk and ensuring appropriate assurance mechanisms exist. Any information-related risks identified by information asset owners (IAOs) should be entered into the relevant departmental risk register to enable significant information risks to be reviewed by the SIRO.

Shared Care Record (ShCR)

A shared care record is a collection of patient information, stored in one area, that care providers both contribute to and have access to, giving a full picture of those in their care. Care providers that typically contribute to a shared care record include GPs, hospitals, community and mental health trusts and social care providers.

Learn more: Hear from industry experts, Shared insights and shared experiences of shared care records.

Single Sign On (SSO)

Single sign on (SSO), sometimes hyphenated as single sign-on, is an authentication scheme that allows a user to log in with a single ID and password to any of several related, yet independent, software systems.

Strengths-Based Practice (SBP)

Strengths-based (or asset-based) approaches focus on individuals’ strengths (including personal strengths and social and community networks) and not on their deficits. Strengths-based practice is holistic and multidisciplinary and works with the individual to promote their wellbeing. It is outcomes-led and not services-led.

Summary care record (SCR)

A summary care record (SCR) is an electronic record of important patient information, created from GP medical records. They can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in the patient’s direct care.

System command centre (SCC)

NHS England is urging regions to set up data-driven “war rooms”. These new system command centres (SCCs) are expected to be created in every local area and operated on a 24/7 basis. Their purpose is to ensure visibility of, and a collective approach to managing system demand and capacity across the country. 

Learn more: Regional system command centres to be implemented by 1st December 2022.


Technology-Enabled Care

Refers to the use of telehealth, telecare and telemedicine in providing care for people that is convenient, accessible and cost-effective. These services use technology to support people to live safely and independently in their own homes and can be helpful to people at risk of falls.

Transfer of care (TOC)

This refers to when a service user’s ongoing treatment is moved to services outside their current service and they are discharged from the care of the service.

Trusted research environment (TRE)

NHS Digital’s trusted research environment (TRE) service for England provides approved researchers with access to essential linked, de-identified health data to quickly answer COVID-19-related research questions.


Unified tech fund (UTF)

A key part of NHSX’s recently published proposals to tackle issues plaguing tech funding. It is intended to make access to short-term funding easier, by consolidating national 2021/22 funding pots for tech projects into a single Unified Tech Fund.

Learn more: Finally, we know what good looks like for a digital ICS.


Virtual ward

Virtual wards allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital. Virtual wards are in place in many parts of the country, such as COVID virtual wards. People with other conditions can also be treated in a virtual ward, for example people living with frailty and people with acute respiratory infection.

Learn more: Step down into a virtual ward.


What good looks like (WGLL) framework

Seven success measures for successful digital transformation. These measures are well-led, ensure smart foundations and safe practice, support people, empower the public, improve care and build healthy populations.

Learn more: We know what good looks like…now we need to access the funding to build it.

Have we missed something from our digital health glossary?

Let us know by emailing info@channel3consulting.co.uk

Contact us