A Home Telehealth Glossary

Tele-health draws on many fields and uses terminology, phrases, and acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the newcomer. The following definitions are offered to facilitate learning. It is non-technical and meant to be suggestive rather than definitive. We welcome corrections. Tony Salvatore

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A B C D E F H I K L M O P R S T U V W

Acoustic Data Transmission - Sending voice or other sounds via telephone lines, video cable, or other media.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) - Use of phone company upgrades to increase data transmission capacity of existing copper wire lines.
Alarm - An audio tone (sometimes accompanied by a visual signal) issued by a tele-health device to alert the user of a scheduled event or an emergency.
Algorithm - Mathematical coding scheme for compressing audio or video signals to permit transmission over less costly lower bandwidths.
Analog - Signifies the transmission of information in continuously varying units.
Auto-dialer - Component of a PERS or other device enabling it to dial programmed telephone numbers in response to an alarm or other event.
Auxiliary Equipment - Devices configured to a tele-health system to improve image quality, provide image storage, and permit image manipulation or distribution.

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Base Unit (AKA Base Receiver] - See receiver.
Bandwidth - Capacity of a medium to transmit data per unit of time. The higher the bandwidth the greater the transmission capacity.
Back-up Power Supply - External rechargeable battery power source capable of operating a PC and peripherals for a short period in the event of a loss of primary electrical service.
Base Unit - The main component of a personal emergency response system housing the speaker phone, auto-dialer, and other circuitry.
Battery Back-up - Replaceable or rechargeable power source capable of operating a PERS or similar system for up to 24 - 48 hours.
Bit (Binary Digit) - Basic unit of information used by computers for data entry, transfer, and storage. Telecommunications transmission rates are usually expressed in terms of bits.
Board - A printed circuit component.
BPS (Bits Per Second) - The number of data bits transferred second between two telecommunications devices.
Broadband - Signifies a telecommunications network able to transmit data, video, and voice over a broad radio frequency spectrum; a high capacity communications medium.

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Card - A small printed plug-in circuit board containing an entire circuit that can be changed to upgrade or modify a device's functions.
Carrier - The basic continuous frequency signal transmitted over telephone line to transfer data.
CATV (Community Antenna Television) - Local cable-based video network also capable of providing telephone service.
Central Station - See monitoring center
Chip (AKA Microchip) - An integrated circuit (IC) consisting of electronic components and their connections on silicon or similar material.
CHIN (Community Health Information Network) - Utility providing on-line access to dispersed patient records or information at provider sites.
Coaxial Cable - (AKA Coax) A telecommunications medium able to handle wide bandwidths and resist interference.
Component Video - A method of color video transmission that produces high image quality with better resolution and color than composite video.
Composite Video - A method of color video transmission that conserves bandwidth but is subject to interference and poorer image quality than component video.
Compression - Use of a mathematical algorithm to reduce the size of data, audio, or video transmissions for greater speed or use of lower bandwidths.
Configuration - How software, hardware, or a system as a whole is set up to operate or function; a particular combination of devices.

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Dedicated Line - See Leased Line.
Demarc (Demarcation Point) - Site (i.e., jack or panel) in a building where the telephone company's responsibility ends and the customerís begins.
Digital - Signifies information transmission in discrete, uniform units.
Digital Camera - Captures still or moving images digitally for ready transmission or storage via computer.
Dip (Dual In-line Package) Switch - A tiny switch on a circuit board providing a means of selecting or setting device functions.
Distribution Amplifier - Device used to transmit a single video transmission to several locations or devices.
Download - Transfer of programming instruction, patient education information, or other files from the provider to the home tele-health system.
DTMF (Dual Tone Modulated Frequency) - Refers to the tones used by touch-tone telephones.
Duplex - Data communications capable of simultaneous two way transfer.
Duplex Audio - Two way simultaneous audio or voice communication.

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Encryption - Encoding information to assure security prior to transmission.

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FDA 510K - Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

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Half Duplex - One way at a time audio or voice communication.
Hard Wired - Permanent or semi-permanent connection of an electronic device to a telecommunications port.
Home Tele-Health (HTH) - The use of telecommunications by a home care provider to link patients or customers to one or more out-of-home sources of care information, education, or service by means of telephones, computers, interactive television ,or some combination of each.

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IATV or ITV (Interactive Tele-video) - A form of video conferencing involving simultaneous audio transmission and video display between two or more sites.
Interface - The exchange of information between two devices or the connection that makes such an exchange possible.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - A telecommunications standard permitting the simultaneous transmission of data with voice and video- permits higher data transmission speeds (64 - 128 Kbps) than POTS.

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KBPS (Kilobits per Second) - One thousand bits per second.

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Leased Line - (AKA "dedicated line") A continuously open (no dial up) point-to-point line used exclusively for a telecommunications link between two systems for a flat monthly charge that does not vary with usage.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) - A semi-conductor diode that lights when a current is passed through it to indicate that a device is receiving or sending a signal.
Line Splitter - Device used to give second line access to a single port modular phone jack for installation of a tele-health system.

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MBPS (Megabits per Second) - One million bits per second.
MHz (Megahertz) - 1 000 KHz; used to express transmitter frequency.
Monitored Medication Dispensing Systems (MMDS) - A programmable device for scheduled dispensing of medications which alerts an off-site monitoring station of patient non-compliance by means of a coded telephone message.
Monitoring Center/Station - A remote central telecommunications facility that receives, processes, and responds to incoming alarm signals and other coded messages from home tele-health systems (AKA a Response Center).

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On Line - Signifies that a telecommunications devices is connected to another such device or means of transmission
Off Line - Signifies that a telecommunications device is not connected to another such device or means of transmission.

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Patient Tele-Monitoring Systems (PTMS) - A configuration involving the input of patient physiological data at scheduled intervals to a device that either has telecommunications capability or attaches to a standard telephone for transmission.
Pendant - Mini-transmitter worn by user around the neck.
Peripherals - Devices connected to a tele-health system to expand its capability.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) - An automated dialing system which can transmit one or more coded messages to a remote monitoring station when activated by the user or by a sensor (e.g., air temperature, smoke or fire).
Point of Care - Site of tele-health care delivery, e.g., the home.
Point of Use - Site of review or evaluation of an incoming video or other file or transmission of data or information.
Point-to-Point - Describes system connection or communication linkage (e.g., home to agency).
Port - A point of connection between two devices; a network entry/end point.
POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) - The standard analog public telephone network that can carry voice and data transmission- typically permits data transmission at 33.6 Kbps.
Programmable - System feature permitting the provider to effect on-site or remote changes to the operating routine of a device or system.

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Real Time - Signifies the near simultaneous sending and receiving of data, audio, and/or video with only a fraction of a second delay.
Receiver - Component of a PERS or other HTH system which receives coded signals from a transmitter (e.g., pendant) for transmission to a monitoring center by means of an auto-dialer.
Resolution - Signifies the degree of image or graphic detail that can be displayed on a monitor.
RJ11 Modular Jack - Registered Jack; the common modular connector used for faxes and modems and household telephones.

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Soft Keys - A limited function keypad permitting the user to enter a preset range of information to a device.
Split-Screen Generator - Device that enables the display of two or more video images from different sources on a single monitor.
Standard Television Set - Household TV used to receive video via POTS or CATV; such tele-health configurations usually use a touch-tone phone for audio transmission and alphanumeric data entry by means of the keypad.
Store-and-Forward - Capability of a system to capture to memory incoming video or graphic images for later retrieval and analysis, comparison, or transfer.

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T1 - A widely available leased line option commonly used with IATV telemedicine systems.
Tele - Prefix meaning "distant." Used to describe delivery of services to individuals remote from the source, e.g., tele-pharmacy, tele-psychology, teleradiology, or tele-nursing.
Tele-conference - An interactive, real time conversation, usually involving parties linked by a telecommunications medium (e.g., speaker phones and microphone amplification systems balancing audio input).
Telecommunications - Communicating voice, video, and/or from a distance using telephone, cable, Internet, microwave, or radio.
Telemedicine - the use of telecommunications for the purpose of transmitting or exchanging medical data and delivering medical assessment, diagnosis, or care.
Tele-patient - A individual "seen" or "visited" by means of a tele-health system; also used to distinguish an individual who is appropriate for tele-health program participation as well as one oriented to use such a system in-home.
Telephony - Transferring voice and or/data by telephone, fax, Internet, or data transfer using telephone technology and optical cables.
Tele-Video Patient Management Systems (TPMS - A video-phone involving a standard television set, a digital color video camera, and a touch-tone telephone set to create an in-home video-conferencing for voice communication and the exchange of images of the patient and provider staff.
Tele-visit - An in-home encounter using telephone-only technology to gather and transmit patient information.
Therapy Tele-Management Systems (TTMS) - A dedicated configuration involving the on-line real-time continuous monitoring of an in-home therapy administration which automatically tracks the patientís signs and adjust volumes and flows as indicated.
Transmitter - Small battery-powered device capable of sending coded signals short distances to a receiver in a tele-health device. May be worn as a pendant or on the wrist. Some systems also use wall-mounted user activated transmitters.

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Upload - Transfer of stored patient data from the in-home tele-health system station to the provider or host system.

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Video-phone - A stand-alone in-home video camera and telephone combination that permits interactive audio/video communication over POTS or ISDN.
Video Conference - Live video image display and audio/voice transmission between two or more locations.
Video Switcher - Device that receives and distributes incoming transmissions to a selected location.
Video Visit - An in-home visit via an IATV-based home tele-health system.

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Wireless - Signifies the use of radio, microwave, or infrared signals by a variety of telecommunications devices (e.g., cellular telephones) to transmit information without the use of wiring or cabling.
Wireless Installation - Requires no new or additional wiring or cabling; uses existing available electrical and or telecommunications connections.
Workstation - Used to describe the configuration of telecommunications devices in the home and in the providerís office.

Copyright 1998 Home Care Management Associates, Ltd.

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