ARK Health Terminology

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HSE Integrated Risk Management Policies
HSE Incident Management Framework
HIQA National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare-Associated Infections

Rob Brennan
Lucy McKenna

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This taxonomy defines the health terms, taken from the HSE Integrated Risk Management Policies, the HSE Incident Management Framework and the HIQA National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare-Associated Infections, that are used on the ARK Platform.




  • Balancing Measures
    • DEF : Are changes designed to improve one part of the system causing new problems in other parts of the system?
  • Benchmarking
    • DEF : A continual process of measuring and comparing care and services with similar service providers
  • Best Practice
    • DEF : Clinical, scientific or professional practices that are recognised by a majority of professionals in a particular field. These practices are typically evidence based and consensus-driven
  • Blood Cultures
    • DEF : A blood test that is used to detect the presence of bacteria or yeasts in the blood which may have spread from another site in the body, to identify the micro-organisms present and to guide treatment
    • BT : Healthcare
    • TT : Healthcare
  • Business Continuity
    • DEF : Issues that would affect an organisation's ability to provide service e.g. deregistration, fire, flood, ICT or electric outage, industrial strikes.
    • BT : Risk Categories
    • TT : Risk



  • Dangerous Occurrences
    • DEF : Dangerous occurrences may result from a sequence of events and circumstances involving a combination of unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, system failures, human factors and/or omissions. It most directly relates to the term ‘reportable circumstance’ as defined by the WHO (2009)
  • Dashboard Reporting
    • DEF : Dashboard reporting is a visual representation of your company's key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Data
    • DEF : Data are numbers, symbols, words, images, graphics that have yet to be organised or analysed
  • Decontamination
    • DEF : The removal of micro-organisms or foreign matter (or both) from contaminated materials or living tissue. Three processes for decontamination are commonly used: cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation
    • NT : Sterilisation
    • NT : Disinfection
    • NT : Cleaning
  • Diagnosis
    • DEF : The process of identifying a disease or condition by carrying out tests or by studying the symptoms
    • BT : Healthcare
    • TT : Healthcare
  • Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory
    • DEF : Refers to a laboratory where tests are performed on clinical specimens such as a blood sample, to determine the cause of infection and to identify suitable treatments
    • BT : Microbiology
    • TT : Micro-Organism
  • Dignity
    • DEF : The right to be treated with respect, courtesy and consideration
  • Directorate
    • DEF : The Directorate is the governing authority of the HSE established following the enactment of the Health Service Executive (Governance) Act 2013.
  • Disinfection
    • DEF : A process used to reduce the number of viable micro-organisms, but which may not necessarily inactivate some infectious agents
    • BT : Decontamination
    • TT : Decontamination
  • Drug and Therapeutics Committee
    • DEF : A multidisciplinary group of people from within and outside a hospital or group of hospitals, which reports to senior management. The committee is responsible for expert governance oversight and review of the service to ensure safe and effective use of medicines in the hospital or hospitals in question



  • Facility
  • Fair Procedures and Natural Justice
    • DEF : Natural justice is legal language for two ancient rules from the Romans who believed that some legal principles were self-evident and did not require a statutory basis.The first is a rule against bias and is known as “nemo iudex in causa sua”.It means that no person can judge a case in which they have an interest.The second rule “Audi alteram partem” means “hear the other side too”. It is most often used to refer to the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them
  • Family
    • DEF : Those closest to the patient in knowledge, care and affection and who are connected through their common biological, legal, cultural, and emotional history
  • Features
    • DEF : These elements, taken together, will enable progress towards achieving the standard
    • BT : Standard
    • TT : Controls
  • Financial Loss
  • Findings
    • DEF : 1) Factors that, if corrected, would likely have prevented the incident or mitigated the harm;2) Factors that if corrected, would not have prevented the incident or mitigated the harm, but are important for patient/staff safety or safe patient care in general (incidental findings); and3) Mitigating factors – factors that did not allow the incident to have more serious consequences and represent solid safeguards that should be kept in place.(Ref: Canadian Incident Analysis Framework – Canadian Patient Safety Institute 2012)
    • NT : Statement of Findings


  • Governance
    • DEF : In healthcare, an integration of corporate and clinical governance; the systems, processes and behaviours by which services lead, direct and control their functions in order to achieve their objectives, including the quality and safety of services for service users








  • National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC)
    • DEF : A ministerial committee established by the Department of Health as part of the Patient Safety First initiative to provide oversight for the national clinical effectiveness agenda, which includes national clinical guidelines, national clinical audit and clinical practice guidance
    • NT : National Clinical Guidelines
  • National Clinical Guidelines
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS)
    • DEF : The National Incident Management System, hosted by the State Claims Agency, is a highly secure web-based database which facilitates direct reporting of adverse events by State authorities and healthcare enterprises; it is the single designated system for reporting of all incidents in the public healthcare system i.e. for HSE and HSE funded services.
    • BT : Incident
    • TT : Incident
  • National Incident Reporting Form
    • DEF : The National Incident Report Form (NIRF) was developed by the State Claims Agency in conjunction with all stakeholders including the HSE and voluntary hospitals. Use of a NIRF assures the accuracy of data and clarity of information being reported. There are four forms in total; Person, Property, Crash/Collision and Dangerous Occurrences/Reportable Circumstance i.e. Dangerous Occurrences/Reportable Circumstances.
    • BT : Incident
    • TT : Incident
  • National Standards
    • DEF : Refers to the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Healthcare Services (2017)
    • BT : Standard
    • TT : Controls
  • Near Miss
    • DEF : An incident that was prevented from occurring due to timely intervention or chance and which there are reasonable grounds for believing could have resulted, if it had not been so prevented, in unintended or unanticipated injury or harm to a service user during the provision of a health service to that service user.(National Standards for the Conduct of Reviews of Patient Safety Incidents)
    • BT : Incident
    • TT : Incident
  • Needs Assessment
    • DEF : Systematic identification of the needs of an individual or population to determine the appropriate level of care or services required
    • BT : Care
    • TT : Healthcare
  • No Harm Incident
    • DEF : An incident occurs which reaches the service user but results in no injury to the service user. Harm is avoided by chance or because of mitigating circumstances.
    • BT : Incident
    • TT : Incident
  • Non-Communicable Disease
    • DEF : Chronic diseases that are not passed from person to person. The four main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes
  • Notification
    • DEF : All medical practitioners, including clinical directors of diagnostic laboratories are required to notify the medical officer of health in the local Departments of Public Health of certain infectious diseases. The list of diseases (and the respective causative micro-organisms) that are notifiable is contained in the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 and subsequent amendments.This information is used to investigate cases, facilitate the early identification of outbreaks, and monitor the burden and changing levels of diseases
    • BT : Infectious Disease
    • TT : Infectious Disease



  • Patient
  • Patient Safety
    • DEF : The term used nationally and internationally to describe the freedom from unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with healthcare services and the reduction of risk of unnecessary harm to an acceptable minimum (World Health Organisation, 2009). Where the term patient is used to describe ‘patient safety incident’, ‘quality and patient safety committees’ or ‘patient safety data’, it is intended to encompass all definitions of people who use health (including mental health) care services e.g. service users in both acute and community health care settings
    • BT : Patient
    • TT : Patient
    • NT : Patient Safety Data
    • NT : Quality Patient Safety/Risk Manager/Advisors
    • NT : QPS Advisor
    • NT : Patient Safety Incident
  • Patient Safety Data
    • DEF : The broad and heterogeneous information that includes, but is not limited to, the description of incidents with medical errors or near misses, their causes, the follow-up corrective actions, interventions that reduce future risk, and patient safety hazards.
    • BT : Patient Safety
    • TT : Patient
  • Patient Safety Incident
    • DEF : A patient safety incident, in relation to the provision of a health service to a patient by a health services provider, means “an incident which occurs during the course of the provision of a health service”
    • BT : Incident
    • BT : Patient Safety
    • TT : Incident
    • TT : Patient
    • NT : Open Disclosure
  • Person
    • DEF : This refers to individual people e.g. service users, patients, members of staff, carers, relevant person(s) and visitors
    • NT : Relevant Person
    • NT : Person Affected
  • Person Affected
    • DEF : This refers to individual people e.g. service users, patients, employees, carers, relevant persons and visitors that may be affected as a consequence of an incident occurring. Persons can be affected either directly or indirectly.
    • BT : Person
    • TT : Person
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • DEF : Equipment a person wears to protect themselves from risks to their health or safety, including exposure to infections, for instance, disposable gloves and disposable aprons
    • BT : Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
    • TT : Infection
  • Point of Care
    • DEF : The place where the following three elements come together: the patient, the healthcare worker and the care or treatment involving contact with the patient or the patient’s surroundings
    • BT : Healthcare
    • TT : Healthcare
    • NT : Point-Of-Care Testing
  • Point-Of-Care Testing
    • DEF : Tests designed to be used at or near the site where the patient is located, which do not require permanent dedicated space and which are performed outside the physical facilities of the clinical laboratories
    • BT : Point of Care
    • TT : Healthcare
  • Policy
    • DEF : A written operational statement of intent which helps staff make appropriate decisions and take actions, consistent with the aims of the service provider, and in the best interests of service users
  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
    • DEF : The administration of a drug to prevent the development of an infection after the patient has been exposed to the infection
    • BT : Infection
    • TT : Infection
  • Procedure
    • DEF : A written set of instructions that describes the approved and recommended steps for a particular act or sequence of events
  • Process Measures
    • DEF : Are the parts/steps in the system performing as planned? Are we on track in our efforts to improve the system?
  • Procurement
    • DEF : The acquisition, whether under formal contract or otherwise, of works, supplies or services
  • Project Risk
    • DEF : Project risks relate to the achievement and delivery of the project objectives and outcomes. The majority of project risks are short term in nature and exist for the term of the project, whilst some will be on-going and re-classified at the end of the project. Projects can be defined as temporary, with the aim of delivering outcomes within a specified timeframe.
    • BT : Risk
    • TT : Risk
  • Prophylactic Antimicrobial Therapy
    • DEF : The use of antimicrobials to prevent an infection in clinical situations where there is significant risk of infection occurring
    • BT : Antimicrobial
    • TT : Antimicrobial
  • Protected Disclosure
    • DEF : Protected Disclosure describes a procedure where staff members have reasonable grounds for believing that the health or welfare of patients/clients or the public may be put at risk, or where there is waste of public funds or legal obligations are not being met, can report these so that the matter can be investigated. The Protected Disclosures of Information as provided for in the Health Act 2004 (as amended by the Health Act 2007) legislation also provides statutory protection for health service staff from penalisation as a result of making a protected disclosure in accordance with this procedure.
  • Protective Lifestyle Factors
    • DEF : Includes healthy body weight/controlled body weight, good nutrition, being physically active, not smoking, drinking alcohol within recommended weekly allowances
    • BT : Healthcare
    • TT : Healthcare
  • Pseudonymisation
    • DEF : Replacing any identifying characteristics of data with a pseudonym, or, in other words, a value which does not allow the data subject to be directly identified.Ref. Guidance Note: Guidance on Anonymisation and Pseudonymisation. Data Protection Commission. June 2019





  • The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)
    • DEF : The NTMA is a State body which operates with a commercial remit to provide asset and liability management services to Government and is designated as the State Claims Agency when it performs the claims and risk management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2000
  • Transmission-Based Precautions
    • DEF : These are additional precautions that staff need to take when standard precautions may be insufficient to prevent cross transmission of specific infectious agents. Transmission-based precautions are categorised by the route of transmission of infectious agents (some infectious agents can be transmitted by more than one route) including contact, droplet and airborne precautions
    • BT : Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
    • TT : Infection
  • Treatment
    • DEF : Additional mechanisms, processes, procedures or actions to be implemented, which seek to reduce the current likelihood and/or consequence and reach the Residual Risk Rating.
    • BT : Controls
    • TT : Controls
  • Turnaround Time
    • DEF : A parameter of a laboratory’s efficiency, defined as the time between ordering a test or submitting a specimen to the laboratory and the reporting of results
    • BT : Healthcare
    • TT : Healthcare



  • Vaccine Non-Responder
  • Vigilance
    • DEF : Being alert to the potential of harm occurring within the workplace. The heightened sense of awareness that you need to adopt and engender within the workplace to ensure ongoing safety in the delivery of services.


  • Workforce
    • DEF : The people who work in, for or with the service provider. This includes individuals that are employed, self-employed, temporary, volunteers, contracted or anyone who is responsible or accountable to the organisation when providing a service to the patient
    • NT : Skill-Mix
    • NT : Staff