Artificial Intelligence Terms in Healthcare | Glossary

With terms natural language processing and machine learning, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to remember what each concept actually means. We’ve put together this glossary of commonly used terms in the healthcare and artificial intelligence space to help ease some confusion about these sometimes overwhelming concepts.


An algorithm is a systematic process consisting of an ordered sequence of steps, each step depending on the outcome of the previous one.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is the ability of a computer to perform narrow or broad tasks typically requiring human intelligence.

Care Coordination

Care coordination is the process of planning and organizing care activities around all of a client’s clinical or non-clinical needs with all participants, such as providers or family members, to ultimately produce an effective and dynamic care plan for a client.

Patient Navigation

Patient navigation is a community-based service delivery intervention, such as a person from one’ community or health system who checks in on someone to make sure they are receiving the right services.  The programs are often designed to promote access to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases by eliminating barriers to care.

Case management

Case management is similar to care coordination.  Case management refers to the planning and coordination of healthcare and social services necessary for a person to achieve wellness.

Clinical Algorithm

A clinical algorithm is any formula, computation, or text-based decision tree that  can: guide one or a sequence of clinical decisions, teach clinical decision making, or for guide patient care.

Community network

A community network is a collection of  nonprofit organizations, social service organizations, and health systems, hospitals and clinics that work together to provide support for clients in a community.

Consultative analytics

Consultative analytics is the concept of providing guidance or recommendations based on specific questions posed by a client using custom data and analytics.

Data mining

Data mining is a process for discovering patterns in a large set of data to predict outcomes or answer specific questions.

Data warehouse

A data warehouse is a large collection of data stored electronically. It can also refer to a system that pulls data together from many sources of information.

Deep Neural Network (DNN)

A deep neural network (DNN) is a form of deep machine learning that is modeled similarly to the visual cortex in the brain, which is organized as a deep series of layers, simulating the arrangement of neurons. DNNs combined with powerful parallel computational systems and large datasets allow machines to perform human tasks, such as visual recognition, speech translation, at human performance levels. 

Deep learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning. As described above, it imitates functions of the human brain to process data and create patterns for decision making.

Discharge barrier

A discharge barrier is a clinical or non-clinical obstacle that delays a patient’s safe discharge from the hospital.

Integrated care model

An integrated care model is the concept of providing healthcare services that bring together all elements that impact a person’s health, including social, economic, and biological factors.

Machine learning (ML)

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, in which computers and software are designed  to learn without explicitly programming to carry out new tasks. 

Natural language processing (NLP)

Natural language processing is a subset of artificial intelligence, which enables machines to have the ability to read and understand the human language.

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics is the concept of using data to make predictions about the future.

Social determinants of health (SDOH)

Social determinants of health are the social and economic factors that influence the health of an individual. These include factors such as race, gender, income, education level, family support, and employment.

Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)

The social vulnerability index uses US census data to determine communities that may need support preparing for or recovering from hazardous events.

Software as a service (SaaS)

Softwares as a service is a software that is licensed on a subscription basis and is accessed online rather than installed to an individual computer.


Telehealth is the use of electronic devices, such as computers or cell phones, to access remote healthcare services.

Unstructured data

Unstructured data is data that is not organized in a pre-defined structured format.


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