A

A&E

Accident and emergency.

Acute Trauma

The sudden injury usually due to a vehicle accident, fall, burn, sports or fight.

ADHD

The abbreviation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Ambulatory Care

Healthcare services rendered to persons who are not kept overnight in a healthcare facility.

Ancillary Services

Hospital services exclusive of such services as room and board, dietary, nursing and supplies; some examples are radiography and laboratory services.

Anemia

Abnormally low levels of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Most cases are caused by iron deficiency (lack of iron).

Aneurysms

Caused by dilation of a blood vessel, and can lead to rupture and death.

Angioedema

The swelling of the deeper layers of the skin, caused by a build-up of fluid.

Aorta

The largest artery in the body.

Aspiration

The drawing off of fluid from a cavity by means of suction.

Autoimmune disease

A problem with the body’s immune system, when it starts to attack healthy cells, tissues and organs. Examples include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

B

Bariatric surgery

Surgery for weight loss, such as gastric bypass surgery or gastric band.

Biopsy

A sample of cells or tissue is removed from the body and tested to help exclude or establish a diagnosis such as cancer.

Brachytherapy

A cancer treatment whereby radioactive material is inserted directly into the tumour.

Bronchoscopy

Examination of the airways using a bronchoscope (a flexible or rigid tube with a small camera and light at the end).

C

Cardiac arrest

A cessation of the normal regular muscular contractions of the heart, meaning blood cannot be pumped around the body.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Involves the administration of live-saving chest compressions to someone who is not breathing or who has suffered a cardiac arrest (heart attack).

Cardiovascular

Concerning the heart and blood vessels.

Catheter

A flexible tube that is inserted into the body to remove or introduce fluids. Catheters also have other uses, for example to widen obstructed blood vessels.

Chemotherapy

Treatment for cancer patients with drugs that destroy the cancer cells.

Chronic condition

A disease, illness or injury which has at least one of the following characteristics:

It needs ongoing or long-term monitoring through consultations, examination, check-ups, Drugs and Dressings and/or tests

It needs ongoing or long-term control or relief of symptoms

It requires Your Rehabilitation or for You to be specially trained to cope with it

It continues indefinitely

It has no known cure

It comes back or is likely to come back

Chronic Diseases

Diseases which present themselves with one or more of following characteristics: recurrent nature, unidentified cause, difficult to treat, resulting in palliative care or a disabled condition.

Clinical effectiveness

A measure of the extent to which a particular treatment or intervention works.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

A talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Colonoscopy

A procedure allowing the examination of the colon using a thin flexible tube with a light and camera at one end (known as an endoscope).

Colorectal

Relating to the colon or rectum.

Corticosteroid

Corticosteroids are a class of steroid hormones that are produced in the adrenal cortex of vertebrates, as well as the synthetic analogues of these hormones.

Corticosteroid drugs

Similar to corticosteroid hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands, which are small glands at the top of the kidney. Often known as steroids, they are prescribed for a variety of conditions, via tablets, injection, inhalers, creams and so on.

Croup

A common condition in babies and young children resulting in narrowing and inflammation of the airways that causes hoarseness, noisy breathing and a cough. It is usually viral.

CT scans

Computerised tomography scan. Uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body. Sometimes referred to as a CAT scan or computed tomography scan.

Custodial Care

Care provided primarily to assist a patient in meeting the activities of daily living, but not care requiring skilled nursing services.

D

Developmental language disorder

A lifelong condition that significantly affects how someone understands what is said to them and /or how they express themselves.

Differential diagnosis

A series of potential diagnoses that could explain the symptoms a patient is experiencing, which can then potentially lead to the correct diagnosis.

Disease Management

For persons with chronic conditions (diabetes, COPD, etc.) it is the coordination of care for the entire disease treatment process, including patient education, inpatient and outpatient care, preventive care, and acute care.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid. The hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.

E

Electro-convulsive therapy

A standard psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in patients to provide relief from psychiatric illnesses. Formerly known as electroshock therapy.

Electrocardiograms

A test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

A test to record the electrical activity of the brain – used for diagnosis and monitoring of certain conditions that affect the brain.

Electronic Health Record/Electronic Medical Record

Computerized patient health records, including medical, demographic, and administrative information that can be shared across multiple healthcare facilities and physicians for overall continuity in care.

Emergency Medical Condition

An illness, injury, symptom, or condition so serious that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoid severe harm.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Ambulance services for an emergency medical condition.

Emergency Services

Services provided in connection with an unforeseen acute illness or injury requiring immediate medical attention.

Endometrial ablation

A medical procedure that is used to remove (ablate) or destroy the endometrial lining of a uterus.

Endoscope

A flexible or rigid tube with a small camera and light at the end, used for examination, photography, biopsy and surgery/treatment. Light is carried along the tube by very fine glass fibres.

Endoscopy

Examination of a body cavity using an endoscope, which is a flexible or rigid tube with a small camera and light. Operations can also sometimes be carried out by passing instruments into the endoscope.

Endotracheal intubations

A medical procedure in which a tube is placed into the windpipe (trachea) through the mouth or nose.

Endovascular

Using wires, catheters, balloons, stents and devices to treat arterial disease in a minimally invasive way.

Epidemiology

The study of patterns of health and disease in populations.

Epidural

This is the injection of local anaesthetic or other pain-relieving medicines into a space that surrounds your spinal cord. It temporarily numbs your nerves.

Evacuation

Medical emergency transport (ambulance, air flight) to the nearest medical facility suitable for the needs of a critically ill or seriously injured patient.

F

Fissure sealant

Fissure sealants are plastic coatings that are painted on to the grooves of the back teeth.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

A endoscopic procedure that allows the examination of the lining of the rectum and the lower part of the colon. A long flexible tube is inserted, which has a camera and light at one end (known as an endoscope).

Formulary

A list of prescription drugs covered by a prescription drug plan offering prescription drug benefits. Also called a drug list.

G

Genetics

The branch of science that deals with how you inherit physical and behavioural characteristics, including medical conditions.

Genomics

A discipline in genetics that looks at the function and structure of genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism).

Good Medical Practise

Core ethical guideline reflecting the principles and values healthcare professionals should be concerned about.

H

Habilitative Services

Healthcare services that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and function for daily living. Examples include therapy for a child who is not walking or talking at the expected age. These services may include physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and other services for people with disabilities in a variety of inpatient and/or outpatient settings.

Haemodialysis

A method of removing waste products from the blood using a dialyser or artificial kidney.

Harvesting veins

Removal of healthy veins to be used elsewhere in the body.

Health Insurance

A contract that requires your health insurer to pay some or all of your healthcare costs in exchange for a premium.

Heart murmurs

Abnormal sounds caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart.

Home Health Care

Healthcare services a person receives at home.

Hospice Services

Services to provide comfort and support for persons in the last stages of a terminal illness and their families.

Hospitalization

Care in a hospital that requires admission as an inpatient and usually requires an overnight stay. An overnight stay for observation could be outpatient care.

Hypertension

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Hysterectomy

Surgery to remove the uterus (womb).

Hysterosalpingography

A special X-ray procedure in which a small amount of fluid is placed in the uterus and fallopian tubes to find abnormal changes or see if the tubes are blocked.

Hysteroscopy

A procedure in which a lighted telescope is inserted into the uterus through the cervix to view the inside of the uterus or perform surgery.

I

In vitro

Techniques conducted in a laboratory setting, where a glass dish or test tube is used for observations made outside the body. A well-known example is in vitro-fertilisation, where sperm and egg are fertilised outside the body.

Inpatient Treatment (IP)

When the patient’s medical condition requires an overnight (or longer) stay in a hospital.

Intensive care

The care of seriously ill people.

Intrauterine contraceptives

A small T-shaped device made from plastic and copper that is fitted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Also called a coil.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

A small device that is inserted and left inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Intubate

The insertion of a tube into a part of the body, often a breathing tube into the trachea (breathing passages). This enables mechanical ventilation, for example during surgery or as an emergency procedure.

L

Laparoscopy

A surgical procedure in which a thin, lighted telescope called a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision (cut) in the abdomen. The laparoscope is used to view the pelvic organs. Other instruments can be used with it to perform surgery.

Laryngeal

Pertaining to the larynx.

Lipid disorders

Metabolic disorders that result in abnormal amounts of fatty substances that are insoluble in water (lipids) which may lead to serious illnesses.

Lumbar puncture

The insertion of a hollow needle into the spinal canal, to inject drugs or other substances or to withdraw cerebrospinal fluid.

M

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

An imaging technique that uses powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to provide detailed cross-sectional or three-dimensional images of the body.

Managed Care

A healthcare system that reduces the cost of providing health benefits and improves the quality of care.

Maternity

Maternal care during pregnancy.

Medically Necessary

A term used to describe the supplies and services provided to diagnose and treat a medical condition in accordance with the standards of good medical practice and the medical community.

Menopause

The time when a woman’s menstrual periods stop permanently. Menopause is confirmed after 1 year of no periods.

Menstruation

The monthly shedding of blood and tissue from the uterus that happens when a woman is not pregnant.

Metabolic

The processes, both physical and chemical, by which the living body is built up and maintained, and by which molecules are broken down to make energy available to the organism.

Microvascular

Small arteries or veins.

Mitral valves

Valve with two tapered cusps, located between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. Also called the bicuspid valve.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging.

Multi-morbidity

Multiple long-term, chronic health conditions.

N

Nanotechnology

Enables scientists to examine molecules and atoms at the smallest possible microscopic level. Measurements are made in nanometers. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

Nebuliser

A device used to administer drugs including corticosteroids for conditions such as asthma.

Neonatal

The period of time following a baby’s birth, up to four weeks after birth.

NMC

The Nursing and Midwifery Council. A regulatory body that maintains a register of nurses, midwives and health visitors.

O

Oedema

A build up of fluid in the body, causing the affected tissue to become swollen.

Oncology

The branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of tumours, particularly cancerous tumours.

Orthodontics

Dental devices like braces, retainers and Invisalign to align teeth more appropriately.

Orthomolecular Treatment

Complementary medicine based on a qualitative and quantitative use of nutritional molecules to diagnose, treat and mainly prevent certain medical conditions. However, vitamins and supplements are not considered as prescription drugs and as such not covered.

Orthoses

Devices worn in shoes either to change the way the foot works while walking or to provide support. They are used to help pain outside the foot such as in the ankle, knee, hip or back.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

Healthcare costs that are not covered by insurance.

Outpatient Care

Care in a hospital that usually does not require an overnight stay.

Over The Counter drugs (OTC)

OTC medication can be purchased without a physician’s prescription. However, legislation differs by country. Remind insurers will not reimburse OTC medication. Opposite to Prescription Drugs.

P

Paracentesis

Puncture of the wall of a body cavity by a hollow needle in order to draw off excess fluid or to obtain diagnostic material (eg abdomen or chest).

Parenteral

The administration of drugs or other fluids into the body by any route except via the gastrointestinal tract (for example by intravenous or intramuscular injection or infusion).

Parenteral nutrition

The provision of carbohydrate, fat and proteins via intravenous administration (feeding).

Pelvic Exam

A physical examination of a woman’s pelvic organs.

Perioperative

The time before and after an operation. The goal of perioperative care is to provide better conditions for patients before, during and after the operation

Physiology

The science of the functions of living organisms.

Pleural aspiration

A small needle is inserted into the space between the lungs and the chest wall to remove fluid that has accumulated around the lung.

Plexus blocks

Regional anesthesia techniques that are sometimes employed as an alternative to general anesthesia for surgery of the shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist and hand.

Polypharmacy

The administration of different drugs taken together, which increases the likelihood of side effects from drug interactions.

Pre-Existing Condition

A health condition (except pregnancy) that was diagnosed and/or treated within six months prior to enrolling in a health plan.

Premium

The fee paid to a health insurance carrier by an enrolled company or individual, normally on a monthly basis, for the delivery and financing of healthcare services to the employees or the individual, and their dependents enrolled in the plan.

Prescription Drugs

Medication is not available without a physician’s prescription. Opposite to Over The Counter Drugs.

Preventive Care

Care received to help prevent or detect illness before it occurs, such as routine physicals, well baby care, annual gynecological exams, etc.

Progestin

A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone made naturally by the body.

Prostheses

Plural of prosthesis. An artificial device that replaces a missing body part, which may have been lost through trauma, disease, or congenital conditions.

Pulmonary embolism

A blood clot in the pulmonary artery or in the lung.

R

Radiotherapy

Treatment of cancer patients with x-rays or other radiation.

Reconstructive Surgery

Surgery and follow-up treatment needed to correct or improve a part of the body because of birth defects, accidents, injuries, or medical conditions.

Red flag

Symptoms that indicate a potentially serious disease and warrant prompt investigation and treatment.

Rehabilitation Services

Healthcare services that help a person keep, get back, or improve skills and functioning for daily living that have been lost or impaired because a person was sick, hurt, or disabled. These services may include physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and psychiatric rehabilitation services in a variety of inpatient and/or outpatient settings.

Resectoscope

A slender telescope with an electrical wire loop or roller-ball tip used to remove or destroy tissue.

Respiratory

Related to the respiratory (breathing) system, which includes the nose, throat (pharynx), larynx, windpipe (trachea), lungs and diaphragm.

S

Second medical opinion

When the insured experiences difficult health circumstances abroad, a medical assessment or advice by another and unbiased physician can become a valuable and sometimes necessary resource.

Secondary care

Relates to services provided by specialist doctors or other health professionals who generally don't have the first contact with the patient, but are referred by primary care. Secondary care services are usually provided in a hospital or clinic.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

Seriously Injured Patient

Due to acute trauma, these emergency patients require a rapid assessment of their injuries and life-saving treatment.

Sickle cell disease (SCD)

A serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells develop abnormally.

Skilled Nursing Care

Services from licensed nurses in your home or in a nursing home. Skilled care services are from technicians and therapists in your home or in a nursing home.

Sonohysterography

A procedure in which sterile fluid is injected into the uterus through the cervix while ultrasound images are taken of the inside of the uterus.

Specialist

A physician specialist focuses on a specific area of medicine or a group of patients to diagnose, manage, prevent, or treat certain types of symptoms and conditions. A non-physician specialist is a provider who has more training in a specific area of healthcare.

Spinal block

This is a alternative to general anaesthesia when the surgical site is located on the lower extremities, perineum (eg, surgery on the genitalia or anus), or lower abdominal area.

Stroke

Caused when there is interruption of the blood supply to the brain, which is often the result of a blood clot in a cerebral (brain) artery (ischaemic stroke). It may also be caused by the rupturing of a blood vessel in or near the brain (haemorrhagic stroke).

Subdermal contraceptive implants

A type of birth control. It is a small flexible tube measuring about 40mm in length which is inserted under the skin.

Suture

A stitch or series of stitches used to close a wound.

T

T&O

Trauma and orthopaedic covers injuries and conditions relating to bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.

Tertiary Care

Medical care requiring a setting outside of the routine, community standard; care to be provided within a regional medical center having comprehensive training, specialists, and research training.

Tertiary care

Treatment given in a large regional hospital that provides highly specialised care, for example in cardiac surgery or oncology.

Thrombosis

The formation of a blood clot in the blood vessels or heart.

Tinnitus

Noises heard in the ear without an external cause, such as buzzing or ringing.

Tracheostomies

Plural of tracheostomy, an opening created at the front of the neck so a tube can be inserted into the windpipe (trachea) to help you breathe.

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

Also known as a “mini-stroke”, this occurs when there is a brief interruption of the blood supply to the brain, causing symptoms similar to those of a stroke. The symptoms typically last less than one hour and are completely resolved within 24 hours.

U

Ultrasonography

A test in which sound waves are used to examine inner parts of the body. During pregnancy, ultrasonography can be used to check the fetus.

Ultrasound

A procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of body structures. Can also be used to provide treatment or assist with the healing process.

Urgent Care

Care for an illness, injury, or condition serious enough that a reasonable person would seek care right away, but not so severe as to require emergency room care.

Urticaria

A raised, itchy rash on the skin. Also known as hives, welts or nettle rash.

Uterus

A muscular organ in the female pelvis. During pregnancy this organ holds and nourishes the fetus.

V

Vision Care

Everything related to eye care.