Acronyms: What Do Those Letters Stand For?

Did You Know…

The healthcare field talks in a language all its own.  Have you ever been in a meeting or talking to a person and they lose you because they are speaking in letters?  Medical terminology is frustrating enough, but when we start using acronyms, it can be daunting. An acronym is a word formed from the first letter (or letters) of a series of words.

Some acronyms are second nature to us, such as OR, ED or SPD.   However, when we start using abbreviations in our conversations for things like organizational names it can be downright confusing. I was sitting in an Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) board of directors meeting a couple of years ago and was a little frustrated because I did not understand all of the acronyms that were being so commonly used.  Therefore, I created a list of frequent acronyms used for my reference.  Below is a list of organizational acronyms that SP professionals should be familiar with.

  • AAAASF – American Association for Accreditation for Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc.
  • AAACN– American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
  • AAAHC – Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare
  • AACN – American Association of Critical Care Nurses
  • AAMI – Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
  • ACO – Accountable Care Organizations
  • ACS – American Colleague of Surgeons
  • AdvaMed – Advanced Medical Technology Association
  • AEM – Active Electrode Monitoring
  • AFPP – Association for Perioperative Practice (National Association of Theater Nurses)
  • AHA – American Hospital Association
  • AHCAP – Association of Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHA Personal Membership Group)
  • AHRMM – Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHA Personal Membership Group)
  • AHRQ – Agency for Healthcare Research  and Quality
  • AIA – American Institute of Architects
  • AMDR – Association of Medical Reprocessor
  • AMIA – American Medical Informatics Association
  • ANA – American Nurses Association
  • ANCC – American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • ANSI – American National Standards Institute
  • AOA – American Osteopathic Association
  • AONE – American Organization of Nurse Executives
  • APIC – Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
  • ASA – American Society of Anesthesia
  • ASAE – American Society of Association Executives
  • ASC – American Society of Cardiology
  • ASCA – Ambulatory Surgery Center Association
  • ASCOA – Ambulatory Surgery Centers of America
  • ASCPAC– Ambulatory Surgery Center Political Action Committee
  • ASHCSP – American Society for Health Care Central Service Professionals (joined IAHCSMM 9/07)
  • ASHE – American Society for Healthcare Engineering
  • ASHES – American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services
  • ASHHRA – American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration
  • ASHRM – American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • ASPAN – American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses
  • ASPS – American Society of Plastic Surgery
  • CAH – Critical Access Hospital
  • CBIC-Certification Board in Infection Control
  • CBSPD – Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution, Inc.
  • CCHIT – Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology
  • CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • CMS – Centers  for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • ECRI – Emergency Care Research Institute
  • EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • FGI – Facilities Guideline Institute
  • HCA – Hospital Corporation of America
  • IMDA – Independent Medical Manufacturer Distributors Association
  • ISO – International Organization for Standardization
  • NCSBN – National Council of State Board of Nursing
  • NFN – National Federation of Nurses
  • NHSC – National Health Service Corps
  • NHSN – National Healthcare Safety Network
  • NLM – National Library of Medicine
  • NLN – National League of Nursing
  • NLRA – National Labor Relations Act
  • NPSF – National Patient Safety Foundation
  • NPSG– National Patient Safety Goals
  • NQF – National Quality Forum
  • NSNA – National Student Nurses Association
  • PNDS – Perioperative Nursing Data Base
  • PNP – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • PSO – Patient Safety Organizations
  • QAPI – Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement
  • RCRA – Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • SAS– Surgical Anesthesia Services
  • SCOAP– Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program
  • SGNA – Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates Inc.
  • SHEA – Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
  • STS- Society of Thoracic Surgeons
  • TIGER – Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform
  • TJC – The Joint Commission
  • TMC – Technology Management Council
  • UAN – United American Nurses
  • USPI – United Surgical Partners International

For a more comprehensive list of common acronyms used in healthcare, go to www.seaveyhealthcareconsulting.com.

Rose Seavey MBA, BS, RN, CNOR, CRCST, CSPDT

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