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Home  > Article

Learning the Lingua Franca of Healthcare

By Hannah Waight

You've got more than enough to worry about in your new job besides understanding what your boss is saying. Here's a list of words and terms to help you out.


An intervention is any program that 'intervenes' in the prevention or treatment of a disease to increase the health of a population.


Cost-effective analysis is a tool used by people in the healthcare industry to judge the usefulness of healthcare interventions in relation to their cost.? In this way, people deciding between two different interventions can determine which can give the most health gain for the least amount of money.

Alternative Medicine

Medicine that is not taught in medical schools or typically practiced by doctors is referred to as alternative medicine.? Examples of alternative medicine include acupuncture, homeopathy and massage therapy.


Prevention is a type of health care intervention that helps to stop a person from developing a disease.


Treatment is the opposite of prevention, as treatment methods seek to take care of already existing diseases.


The prevalence of a disease is the proportion of the population that currently has a disease.? You can find the prevalence of a disease by dividing the number of people with a disease by the entire population that could possibly develop the disease.


Incidence is a rate that determines the number of new cases of a disease within a certain period of time.? You can determine the incidence of a disease by dividing the number of new cases of a disease by person-time observation (a certain amount of a time multiplied by the entire population that could possibly develop the disease).? The amount of time is typically one year.


Immunity is the inability of a person to develop a disease due to their natural disposition or a vaccine.?

Risk Factor

A risk factor is some aspect of a person that makes them more likely to develop a disease.? A risk factor can be behavioral, biological or environmental.

Out-of-pocket Payments

Out-of-pocket payments refer to the money that you have to pay when you make a visit to the doctor's office or hospital to receive care.? These payments can be particularly high if you do not have health insurance.??


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