We know there are some confusing words out there, and a lot of acronyms! So we thought we would try to make things a little easier by providing a glossary of common terms that we use when discussing our projects. For a full list of acronyms and glossary terms, see the Department of Health website

Our Definition


A person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.

Blood cholesterol

Fatty substance produced by the liver and carried by the blood to supply the rest of the body. It’s natural function is to supply material for cell walls and for steroid hormones, but if levels in the blood become too high, this can lead to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and heart disease.

Body mass index (BMI)

This is the most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is underweight (BMI below 18.5), normal weight (BMI between 18.5 and 25), overweight (BMI between 25 and 30), or obese (BMI above 30).


A range of diseases where some of the body’s cells begin to multiply out of control, can invade and damage the area around them, and can also spread to other parts of the body to cause further damage.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Any disease of the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). This includes heart attack, angina, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as circulatory disease.

Chronic disease

Term applied to a diverse group of disease, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis (to name a few), that tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development.


A concept of several dimensions relating to an impairment in body structure or function, a limitation in activities (such as mobility and communication), a restriction in participation (involvement in life situations such as work, social interaction and education), and the affected person’s physical and social environment.

Healthcare provider

Health professional or health organisation involved in supplying health services.

Health promotion

The activities and actions involved in the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and to improve their health.


The number of new cases (of an illness or event etc.) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.


A person who identifies himself or herself as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.


A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of personal medical services, and that covers all Australians to help them afford medical care.


Refers to ill health in an individual and to levels of ill health in a population or group.




Relating to muscles, joints and bones.

Outcomes (health)

A health-related change due to a preventive or clinical intervention or service (the intervention may be single or multiple and the outcome may relate to a person, group, or population, or be partly or wholly due to the intervention).

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs, and that covers all Australians to help them afford standard medications.


The number or proportion (of cases, instances, etc.) present in a population at a given time. Compare with incidence.

Public Health

Term variously referring to the level of health in the population, to actions that improve that level or related to study. Activities that aim to benefit a population tend to emphasise prevention, protection, and health promotion as distinct from treatment tailored to individuals with symptoms. Examples include provision of a clean water supply and good sewerage, conduct of anti-smoking education campaigns, and screening for diseases such as cancer of the breast and cervix.

Risk factor

Any factor which represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease, others not necessarily so.

Secure Message Delivery

Secure Message Delivery (SMD) is a set of specifications developed collaboratively by the digital health community including NEHTA, Standards Australia, Desktop Software vendors and secure messaging service providers. This set of specifications defines an approach to digital health communication using widely supported IT industry standards.
The SMD specifications support the secure delivery of messages containing clinical documents and/or other information between healthcare organisations, either directly or through one or more messaging service providers.


The use of telecommunication techniques for the purpose of providing telemedicine, medical education, and health education over a distance. It is about transmitting voice, data, images and information rather than moving care recipients, health professionals or educators. 


Teleconsultation is one of the main components of telehealth. Teleconsultation can be delivered by utilising video conferencing technology to improve access to healthcare services for patients who live in Wollondilly. Instead of having to travel to the nearest major city to see a specialist, patients can use videoconferencing at their local General Practitioner.


Telemonitoring is focused on providing care in a home setting with the primary intent of supporting the patient rather than the health professionals. Home telemonitoring encompasses the use of audio, video, and other telecommunication technologies to monitor patient status at a distance.

Torres Strait Islander

A person of Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.