Healthcare Business Acumen: 14 Terms Every Healthcare Sales Professional Should Know!

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The business of healthcare is in a constant state of flux. It is never static. There are new reimbursement models being evaluated, new locations for care being designed, new types of technology being developed, new methods of communication between patients and caregivers being implemented and new ways of acquiring equipment and supplies created. This “newness” or innovation is creating a new vernacular. Understanding the new healthcare language provides credibility and fosters a different type of discussion. One that is founded on business acumen.

Here are some terms that every sales professional that sells within healthcare should become familiar with immediately. In subsequent blogs, we will take an -in-depth look at many of these terms and provide some additional commentary.

Artificial Intelligence

The use of computer systems capable of performing tasks like humans, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.

Biometric Tracking

A general term that can include access control, identification, workforce management or patient record storage. Biometrics can take unique information about you from your eye, your hand print, or your thumb print and use it to identify you. This information can be used to ensure that you are who you say you are, and you have permission to be working with the healthcare information you are trying to access.


Is a decentralized peer to peer architecture that allows members in the distributed network to record digital transactions into a shared ledger. Each member stores an identical copy of the shared ledger and changes to the shared ledger are reflected in all copies. This technology has the potential to:

  • Place patients at the center of the healthcare ecosystem and increase the security, privacy, and interoperability of health data.
  • Provide a new model for health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic medical records more efficient, disintermediated, and secure.
  • Help hospitals to safely store medical records and then share them with authorized physicians and patients.
  • Help improve accuracy and speed of diagnosis.

Concierge Medicine

A form of medical care in which a patient pays a physician an annual retainer in exchange for enhanced care. The fee paid may or may not include additional charges. Among the perks are the ability to contact your phys­ician at any time and to schedule same-day appointments. Also, called Boutique Medicine, Retainer-Fee Practice, Direct Care and Membership Medicine.

Electronic Visit

Access to a physician or other qualified health professional via telephone or video on smartphones, tablet or a desktop/laptop computer. These sessions can be combined with photos of relevant portions of the body. Electronic visits can help in a variety of clinical conditions such as the management of chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension, heart failure, HIV, and high-risk pregnancies. May also be called a virtual visit.

Healthcare Consumerism

An approach to healthcare where patients act as consumers and make informed decisions about health care options, trying to make the best decisions for quality and cost just as they do with any other commodity. They can ask questions about their diagnosis and they can conduct their own research, obtain second opinions, and discuss their treatment options with their doctor. With healthcare consumerism patients choose their insurance coverage, their provider, review their medical records and correct errors or misinformation and practice preventative care and early intervention. 

Internet of Things

The concept of connecting any device to the Internet (and/or to each other). Within daily life this includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, security systems, wearable devices and almost anything else. Within healthcare this includes patient monitors, mechanical ventilators, IV pumps, X-Ray machines etc.


A drug that acts on the nervous system to relieve pain. They come in tablets, capsules or liquid. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Precision Medicine

The combination of all the clinical, social and environmental information about an individual to create a personalized health plan that proactively supports targeted care and overall wellness.

Radio Identification Device (RFID)

Technology that uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called an RFID tag attached to an object, through a reader to identify and track an object. Within hospitals it is used to track equipment or provide updated information on patients through a wristband. RFID tags guarantee privacy protection since the patients’ personal data is available only for the medical personnel using an RFID reader.


A form of computer malware that holds computerized systems hostage until a ransom demand is paid. Many medical devices are vulnerable to these attacks, which can interrupt hospital operations and compromise patient safety by barring users from accessing critical functions and data.

Specialty Pharmaceutical

A drug used to treat chronic, high-cost, or rare diseases. They are either injectable, infusible, oral, or inhaled medications. They typically target a small number of patients (5,000- 100,000 and cost between $10,000-$100,000 per year.  The patients require close supervision and monitoring because the dosage must be monitored carefully and adjusted.

Unique Device Identifier (UDI)

A unique numeric or alphanumeric code that consists of a device identifier and a production identifier (PI). The DI is a mandatory, fixed portion of a UDI that identifies the labeler and the specific version or model of a device.

The PI is a conditional, variable portion of a UDI that identifies one or more of the following when included on the label of a device:

  • the lot or batch number within which a device was manufactured.
  • the serial number of a specific device.
  • the expiration date of a specific device.
  • the date a specific device was manufactured.
  • the distinct identification code required for a human cell, tissue, or cellular and tissue-based product (HCT/P) regulated as a device. 

Virtual Care Center

A remote facility staffed by medical professionals that oversees patients through an array of technology, diagnostics, devices and sensors to provide the data to support clinicians or consumers in decision making.

Parting Thoughts

New healthcare terms are being created on an increasingly fast pace as data and technology merges with science and innovation. The successful seller of the future will be a voracious reader of industry publications, clinical studies and business books. They will be a lifelong learner that takes responsibility for improving their clinical, financial and business acumen through E-learning, webinars, podcasts and You-Tube videos. Learning will be multi-dimensional and nonstop.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and input. Let’s start a discussion and elevate the sales profession with a thoughtful and informative discourse.

Authors: Thomas J. Williams and Heather L. Williams

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