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Mastering Healthcare Terminology by Shiland

You have probably reached here searching for the book “Mastering Healthcare Terminology by Shiland”. This is of course one of the books you must have on your bookshelf if you are a healthcare professional. However, if you are a healthcare or medical device startup founder, and you are looking for a simple eBook or references to terminology, then this blog may be like a cheatsheet for you. We present most healthcare terminologies with easy and simple definitions and explanations.

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An instrument is used to measure any parameter. The weight scale is an instrument. Every instrument has a scale. A Pulse Oximeter is an instrument that measures heart rate. Pulse Oximeter is a tool when it helps diagnose and monitor Arrhythmia like Bradycardia and Tachycardia.


The quantitative closeness of a new instrument to an existing instrument that is being currently used for a specific measurement. The quantitative assessment is often measured as specificity, sensitivity, accuracy, and Yoden’s index. So, validation is performed by comparing a new instrument with an existing instrument.


The ability of the instrument to perform the way it is designed under various possible test conditions, like an illness, or an environmental factor change like temperature is called reliability.


The range of a measurement parameter is called a scale. For example Weight scale is between 2kg to 300 kg for humans.


When a scale is correlated with a disease condition, it is called a vital. For example heart rate is vital, because >100 BPM is Tachycardia, <60 is Bradycardia, both of which are defined anomalies of the heart.


Any measurement of biosensors, that is not yet standardized to a scale in population studies but is proven to represent certain functionalities of the body/mind/organ/systems is called a biomarker. So, biomarker changes in real-time with each measurement as the body’s function changes each second.


  1. Biomarkers change very rapidly with each measurement. Hence without statistical analysis, doesn’t give any meaning.
  2. Biomarkers are used to detect minute changes in the body’s functionality so that problems can be identified on the micro-level.
  3. A vital has less frequent change and represents the macro-level functional changes.


The closeness of measurement of a scale is measured by two completely different types of instruments. For example correlation of ECG and pulse-oximeter for heart rate scale.

Statistical Significance

Can measurement of a small sample represent more than 95% of the population?

For example,

  1. we have two eyes, which is statistically significant in the human population.
  2. A heart rate greater than 100 represents Tachycardia, is a heart anomaly is statistically significant.


A tool helps to perform a process. A scalpel is a tool for surgery, a stethoscope is a tool for diagnosis.


A physical set of tools needed for a specific task like a stethoscope, fork, or torch together for diagnosis is called a toolbox.


Set of software tools like a Physical toolbox is called a toolkit. For example in MS word Edit options are a toolkit.


A device is a machine that makes human work/tasks easier. A device may have multiple instruments, and tools working together as a single unit. Unlike a toolbox, independent units of a device can’t be used in isolation.
Ex:- ECG device:-
I) Heart Rate Sensor
II) Instrumentation Amplifier
III) Signal Processing
IV) Display/Plotter
V) Decision support system


A framework is a software, where various software tools and toolkits can be integrated. A framework in itself is not functional but can be used to build functional units.
Ex:- .Net Framework, JDK Framework


An abstract model of how a hybrid system can work together.
I) Teleconsultancy is a framework, that has prescription tools, communication tools, and follow-up tools.
II) Telemedicine is an architecture that defines how remote doctor-patient flow may work. You can build a framework based on architecture.


Just as a framework allows various software modules, a platform allows you to combine hardware and software modules. A Platform is a fully functional workflow, that is built by following a standard architecture with the help of one or multiple frameworks, working seamlessly.
Example:- A hospital is a platform that serves end-to-end patient needs.


To find out if an individual has any health problems or not, but doesn’t classify the problem. The result of screening is Good/Average/Poor health condition.


When the health of a person is bad, finding out what exactly is bad, and classifying it is diagnosis.
1. Taking one BP reading. If BP is high, the person is screened for Poor Blood Pressure.
2. After taking 3 times BP in a day, all four limbs, in supine and sitting position for one month, if the median is >140(sys) and 90(dia) then the individual is diagnosed as Hypertensive.


Homeostasis of the Autonomic Nervous system, which controls all the biochemical, biomechanical, bioelectrical homeostasis of the body and mind is called Health.

Health Assessment

Homeostasis analysis, Screening, Diagnosis, Differential & causative Diagnosis, Monitoring, Analysis, and Risk Prediction, together is called health assessment.


Set of tasks that need to be performed in order by multiple humans using multiple tools to successfully meet one objective is called a procedure. (example surgery).


All tasks that lead to a procedure, procedure, or task that are to be followed after the procedure is a process. Ex:- Patient registration, payment, admission, surgery, general ward shift, assessment, release, follow-up visit.


The order of tasks in a process is called a workflow.


A statistical representation of a large amount of information is called analysis.


Software that provides a visual representation of a statistical representation is called analytics.


One independent functional unit of a device/instrument/process/procedure/workflow/framework/platform, that is reused in other areas is called a module. A module can be reused in another device/process.
Ex:- Payment Module


Stopping an illness to progress, eliminating immediate risks.


Repairing a health anomaly. This may be done by using a combination of medicines, lifestyle changes, precautions, and habit changes.


Rehabilitation of the damage done by the disease. For example, if one has an Ulcer, this is due to prolonged inflammation of metabolic health. Therapeutics involve healing to repair the damage already being done to other systems due to the inflammation.

Differential Diagnosis

When a set of symptoms that are common to two or mode diseases are common, identifying them independently is called differential diagnosis.

Root Cause Diagnosis

Identifying the set of anomalies, in an ordered timeline that has led to the current health condition is called a root cause diagnosis.


A Specialization(for example cardiology), looks into a problem deeply from one organ and system. The specialized clinician then performs the procedure to treat the effect on the organ. This also deals with the structural changes and damages that have happened to an organ due to the disease.


Unlike specialization, holistic health means looking at the more generalized structured functioning of all the organs together as systems, like the metabolic system, and cardiovascular system. Holistic health diagnosis diagnoses the system-based anomalies, and then holistic medicine tries to bring the body back to homeostasis.

Functional Medicine

Each independent bioprocess in a system is called a function. Functional medicine isolates the functions in a system, diagnose anomalies, and offers a fixation of the functionality. It doesn’t deal with structural damage.

Integrative Medicine

A medical system that combines functional, and specialized medicines, treatment, and therapeutics, using different branches of medicines like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, and Allopathy, is called integrative medicines.


“Tele” means remote(where two objects have a physical distance beyond direct visibility). So, when healthcare services are delivered remotely, it is called Telehealth.

Public Surveillance

When the risk of a particular health condition is spread in a larger population, tools, and technologies that facilitate monitoring of the population, so as to measure the increase or reduction of the risk in the population is called public surveillance.


Habits often affect our systems. Example Sleeping pattern, time, transport, eating habits, sitting posture, exercise, recreation. Correlating a set of habits with anomalies in a system, or set of systems is called Lifestyle Assessment. Suggesting Lifestyle changes towards fixing a system anomaly is called lifestyle changes.

Mental Health

The quality of our thoughts, emotions, feelings, memory, perception about self and others, ability to socialize, problem-solving ability, and pressure handling ability, together is called Mental Health.


A Medicine is a chemical composition(in different forms), that targets particular receptors in the cells, enters into the cell, and changes the cell functionality. Every medicine is developed for specific cells of a specific organ, targeting specific receptors of the cell, to alter specific functionalities in the cell. Medicine is aimed at cellular functionality that is altered due to a health problem.


Providing communication tools, behavioral tools, for helping a patient deal with a situation better, and explaining to a patient scientifically about the illness one has by conversing with the patient is called counseling.

Want to know any other terminology? please comment in the comment box below.


An individual who understands health better than 95% of the population, can diagnose a problem and can offer therapeutics and treatment for health conditions.


An individual who has a health problem that is reflected through symptoms, seeking help from a doctor for treatment and therapeutics, needs to have patience throughout the recovery process.


An authorized valid legal document given to a patient by a doctor, that summarizes:-

  1. Basic details of the patient.
  2. A proper description of the health condition.
  3. Detail of the health assessment being done on the patient, including standard vitals, tests, and observations.
  4. Explanation of the health condition by the doctor.
  5. Any of the tests that are to be further carried out by the patient.
  6. Treatment details:- Medicines, how to take them, when to take them, and all relevant guidance.
  7. Suggestions about the lifestyle that is to be followed by the patient during the treatment duration.

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Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform (September 25, 2022) Rupam Das, Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way. Retrieved from
Rupam Das,"Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way." Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform - September 25, 2022,
Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform April 2, 2022 Rupam Das, Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way., viewed September 25, 2022,<>
Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform - Rupam Das,Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way. [Internet]. [Accessed September 25, 2022]. Available from:
Rupam Das,"Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way." Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform - Accessed September 25, 2022.
Rupam Das,"Surprisingly Easy Guide To Mastering Healthcare Terminology Easy Way." Lyfas One 360° 24x7 Proven Scalable AI Digital Health Platform [Online]. Available: [Accessed: September 25, 2022]

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