P&T Committee

Pharmaceutical & Therapeutic Committee. In a provider institution (e.g., hospital, medical group) this is the team of physicians, pharmacists, and administrators who approve the content of an interchange plan (aka. formulary) and also lobbies doctors to comply with the plan.

Package Price

The price of a single package. This is usually bigger than unit price, but not necessarily. For example, the package price of a 0.5 ml package is smaller than its unit price (i.e., the price of 1 ml of the product).

Package Size

The total size of the package, in one of three units of measure,
Drug Form Unit of Measure
Tablets, kits, etc. Each
Liquids ML (milliliters)
Solids GM (grams)


Describes the drug product container (e.g., Aerosol, bottle, box, jar, syringe, etc.) Also known as Unit of Order.


The Post-Anesthesia Care Unit is where surgery patients are taken to recover, if all goes well (i.e., patients in critical condition are taken to the ICU).

PAR Area

Small carts or shelves within departments containing a set number of items, each with a reorder point. Materiel personnel take inventories on a daily basis, and requisition replenishment issues to the PAR (manually or automatically).

PAR Level

See PAR Area.


Parenterals are injectable or intravenous products. They are divided into two types: large volume (LVP) and small volume (SVP) parenterals.

Patented Drugs

There are two types of patent protection for drugs,
a patent over the actual active molecule, which prevents anyone else from manufacturing it
a patent over the process of manufacturing a particular molecule.

Patient Account ID

Also called Patient Account Number. A number or some other identifier associated with a particular patient case. This number links together the various charges associated with a particular patient case.

Patient Case

All the information related to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s specific condition. Also referred to as “visit” or “encounter.”

Patient History

The collection of all cases for a specific patient. Also referred to as “episode.”


Refers to the party that covers the cost of care. This could be self-funded employers, MCOs, HMOs, and insurance carriers.


Pharmacy Benefit Managers are businesses that manage pharmaceuticals covered within a benefits plan. This includes contracts with local or regional retail pharmacies. They employ information systems and networks to facilitate management of contracts between pharmacies, payors, and drug manufacturers. See also TPA.


Patient Controlled Anelgesia.


Primary Care Provider. See also PHCP.
Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia.


Parenteral Drug AssociationExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions) (see Parenterals).


Physicians Desk Reference.


Photodynamic Therapy. Refers to drugs that attaches itself to diseased tissue. The drug is later exposed to light, making it chemically active. It then attacks the abnormal cells while leaving healthy ones alone.


Pneumoencephalogram (“picture of the brain full of air,” for the latin-impaired). A procedure that “consists of draining all the cerebrospinal fluid and pumping in air to increase contrast in the ventricles. It is a painful procedure which cannot be done under anesthesia.” (From “A Case Of Need,” by Jeffery Hudson, aka. Michael Chrichton).


Patient Evaluation of Performance in California. And I have no idea what this means.

Perpetual Inventory

Used to describe an inventory record keeping system where each transaction in and out is recorded and a new balance is calculated.

Personal Information

Any individually identifiable information about an individual collected online, including a first and last name, a home or other physical address, including street name and name of a city or town, an E-mail address, a telephone number, a Social Security number, or any other identifier that may permit the physical or online contacting of a specific individual.
[Source: Hi-Ethics CoalitionExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions)]


Positive Emission Tomography. Non-invasive technology that captures images of cellular activity or metabolism by tracking movement of radioactive tracers through body.


Patient Family and Social History. See also HPI, PMH, PSH, ROS, and the University of Florida’s Medical History Taking Study GuideExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions).

Pharmaceutical Care

A concept that defines “pharmaceutical care” as the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life.


The discipline of evaluating the total cost of therapy and helping the hospital make decisions about allocating resources in order to provide the most cost-effective care.


Primary Healthcare Physician. See Primary Care Provider.


Physician Hospital Organization.


The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.External Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions)

Physical Inventory

The determination of inventory quantity by actual count.The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Physician Hospital Organization

A Physician Hospital Organization (PHO) is a loose coupling of a hospital and its physicians for common services and contracting, but where physicians retain ownership of their practices.

Physician Practice Management

PPM is a category of software used to help physicians run their offices, including billing, scheduling, etc. Also known as Practice Management Systems.


Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (see ICU).


Person Identification Service. The CORBAmed standard interface to enable Master Patient Indexes.


Principal Inpatient DCG. A risk-adjusted capitation system in development by HCFA to calculate payments for Medicare+Choice plans.


Product Identification Number. The name of a product code system, including non-prescription pharmaceuticals. See also HBA, UPC and HRI.

Plans Of Care

Prescribed plans for administering healthcare. These are defined based on best practices of providing healthcare (aka. Practice Protocols).


Patient Medical History. Background information related to the patient’s health and well being. According to the University of Florida’s Medical History Taking Study GuideExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions), a brief past medical (and social) history often includes these elements:
Allergies and Reactions to Drugs (“What happened?”)
Current Medications (including “Over-the-Counter”)
Medical/Psychiatric Illnesses (Diabetes, Hypertension, Depression, etc.)
Surgeries/Injuries/Hospitalizations (Appendectomy, Car Accident, etc.)
Tobacco/Alcohol/Drug Use
Reproductive Status for Females
Last Menstrual Period
Last Pelvic Exam/Pap Smear
Birth History/Developmental Milestones for Children
Marital/Family Status
See also HPI, PFSH, PSH, ROS.


Per Member/Per Month. Capitated amount payor pays to provider each month for each member, from which provider must pay for all care required for the member.


See Plans Of Care. Also, “Point of Care,” generic name for places where healthcare diagnosis and treatment is delivered directly to patients. It is unfortunate that this phrase is suspiciously reminiscent of “Point of Sale,” a euphemism for the cash register.

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

The PACU is where surgery patients are taken to recover, if all goes well (i.e., patients in critical condition are taken to the ICU).


See Physician Practice Management.


See Preferred Provider Organization.


Paper-based Patient Record. See CPR.

Practice Management Systems

Software used to help physicians run their practices, including billing, scheduling, etc. Also known as Physician Practice Management systems, and PPMs.
A few commercial offerings are,
CDL Healthcare Systems
Companion Technologies
Disc Systems
HBO & Co.
IDX Systems
Medical Manager
Reynolds & Reynolds

Practice Protocols

Same as Plans Of Care.

Pre-Admission Certification

Approval issued by a case manager (i.e., insurance company representative) before a plan member can be admitted into a hospital and receive coverage. Emergency Room cases must be reported to the insurance carrier within a short period of time after it takes place (usually 24 or 48 hours); the carrier may still refuse to cover the ER charges, if they are deemed to not be covered by the plan (i.e., see Pre-Existing Condition).
This is primarily a cost-control process.

Pre-Admission Test

Tests that must be completed before a person can be admitted to a hospital or other inpatient facility (not always necessary or possible in the Emergency Room).


When a patient has to contact his or her insurance company to receive authorization for treatment prior to receiving hospital treatment.
See also Pre-certification.


Same as Pre-authorization.

Pre-existing Condition

A medical condition not covered by an insurance company. Usually, this is the case because the condition was present before the individual applied for the policy.
Employer-sponsored plans, for the most part, do not have this limitation.
What constitutes a pre-existing condition varies by insurance company. See HIPAA.

Preferred Provider Organization

A plan that contracts with independent providers at a discount for services. It may be risk-bearing, like an insurance company, or it may be non-risk bearing, like a physician sponsored PPO that markets itself to insurance companies or self-insured companies via an access fee.
In a PPO, the patient may go to the physician of his/her choice, even if that physician does not participate in the PPO; however, in that case, the patient receives care at a lower benefit level.

Primary Care Provider

The Primary Care Provider (PCP), usually a General Practitioner who takes care of general healthcare needs, and refers patients to a specialist, as needed.


Primary Care for the Uniform ServicesExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions) is a health benefits program for DEERS-registered patients.


Medicare’s Peer-Review Organizations. As of 1999, there are 37 PROs that are in charge of identifying and correcting deficiencies in the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. These are regional entities, and each is responsible for a single state or multiple states.

Product Standardization

Product standardization consolidates the purchase of many generically equivalent branded products into fewer products. This can translate into costs savings by virtue of the fact that,
making higher volume purchases helps to bring down the per-item costs, and
keeping less unique items in stock (i.e., smaller item universe) simplifies inventory — it evens simplifies data warehousing.


Proof of Coverage.

Prospective Payment System

See PPS.


Healthcare professionals and organizations that provide healthcare services (i.e., physicians, nurses, , hospitals, clinics).


Patient Surgical History. See also HPI, PFSH, PMH, ROS.


Provider Sponsored Networks. As its name implies, these are (information systems) networks sponsored by provider organizations (e.g., IPAs, MSOs, Hospitals).


Provider Service Organization.


Physical Therapy.


Pharmacy Technician Certification BoardExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions).


Pharmacy Technician Educators CouncilExternal Page Policy 
(click to see policy and instructions).


Peptic Ulcer Disease. A chronic disease.

Purchase Order

An order to an outside vendor to supply goods or services. Also known as a Supply Requisition


Short-hand for “procedure.” See also, Dx, Fx, Hx, Mx, Rx, Sx, Tx.


A robotic systems and device for dispensing drugs. It fills a prescription for a particular patient. It works somewhat like a Bank’s ATM,
a nurse enters patient information;
the device allows access to just the appropriate drug(s) in a drawer.