Glossary of Healthcare Terms

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"The pachymeter measures central corneal thickness (CCT) . . . Measuring your central corneal thickness is also important since recent studies have found that thin CCT is a strong predictor of developing glaucoma in patients with high intraocular pressure (IOP)."

Pain Management Center

Center offering services that focus on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain generally through the use of a multidisciplinary approach. Multidisciplinary pain centers typically include physicians, psychologists, nurses and physical and occupational therapists.

Participating Provider

A participating provider is one who has agreed to accept the reimbursement amount set by the Medicare Fee Schedule as payment in full for every claim. The physician may bill the patient for their share of the co-insurance and their deductible, but they cannot balance bill the patient, (i.e. attempt to collect the difference between their usual fee and Medicare


Widely used today in the preservation of perishable products, pasteurization involves the strategic application of heat to kill microbes without injuring the quality of its media (i.e., wine, beer, etc.).

Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH)

A model of healthcare delivery that approaches the delivery of services through coordinated, centralized patient care, with an emphasis on the primary care physician as the manager of a beneficiary

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Landmark U.S. healthcare reform legislation passed on March 23, 2010.

Pay-for-Performance (P4P)

Pay-for-performance (P4P) is a remuneration system in which part of the payment is dependent on performance as measured against a defined set of criteria. Although a P4P system can be structured in several ways, the common elements to all systems are (1) a set of targets or objectives that define what will be evaluated; (2) measures and performance standards for establishing the target criteria; and (3) rewards—typically, financial incentives— that are at risk, including the amount and the method for allocating the payments among those who meet or exceed the reward threshold.

Payback Period

An analytical technique that determines the number of discrete periods “it takes before the cumulative forecasted [undiscounted] cash flow
equals the initial investment.”


A form of additional reimbursement under Medicaid for hospitals that care for a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients. DSH payments are allotments from the federal government that augment basic Medicaid reimbursement, and under federal law, states are required to supplement disproportionate share hospitals in order to receive this additional Medicaid funding.

Payor Mix

The allocation of reimbursement sources for a medical facility, clinic, or provider.

Performance Benchmarking

A more common form of benchmarking that utilizes outcome characteristics as benchmarking metrics (for example, price, speed, and reliability).

Personal Health Record (PHR)

“An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized standards and that can be drawn from multiple source while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.”

Personalized Medicine

The fusion of molecular diagnostics and therapeutic measures for specialized screening and treatment plans.

Pharmaceutical Benefit Management (PBM)

Generally, a private firm who contracts with pharmacies to provide drug administration services particularly claims processing and administrative functions.


Pharmacists are authorized to dispense prescription drugs and advise patients, as well as practitioners, on matters of drug dosage, chemical and biological interactions, and potential adverse reactions.
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