Where could I find abbreviations list?

In the interfaces and documentation I always find a lot of abbreviations that I could not able to know their respective meaning nor origin. For example CPT , in HOWTO: Create A Claim- Ready Encounter of the Wiki.

I need a list of such FAQ, for example, to explain these abbreviations and by the way, what’s the meaning of CPT?

This is a problem i have been facing and suffering in silence. I could not find a glossary of terms for the system. When i search the abbreviation in the Internet i get so many variations that seem to fit the context but I am not sure. I been trying to re-document a user guide for the system and this problem stumped me. I stopped doing the document.

The documentation is so far lagging behind the changes in the system, i am afraid to say there is a possibility for a collapse in the usability of the system. We tried out the system with clinic but failed as the nurses could not understand the terminology. We tried using the translation feature to rename the fields but again we are stumped as i have stated above.

I think the OpenEMR developers need to take many step back, set up a comprehensive documentation standard and ensure that nothing new is thrown into the system unless and until the documentation for the part is done in full even if this means rewriting the old documentation as well.

I am impressed with the software but very disappointed with how it is managed. So sorry, have to call a spade a spade.

You get what you pay for.

1 Like

A couple of sites you may find useful:



CPT is a US term that stands for Current procedural Terminology. CPT codes are typically used for medical billing in the USA and is assigned by a physician to represent a procedure that was performed.

@murugappan this is a common issue when business software gets internationalized. Chances are when someone is stumped with an abbreviation when using professional software, either they are new to that profession or that term / feature is not relevant to them. Good news is that there are other users willing to share their localization approach with new installations in several non-US markets. Hopefully you will change your mind and create documentation that works for your market.

To be fair to the developers, they did provide a mechanism for translation and continue to spend extra keystrokes to support it in every line of new code.

@adunsulag , that was a impolite answer. We know this is an free open source software but i am also donating every month. May be not a large amount yet but once we get going we will do so increase. Your second reply would have been a better one. Take feedback positively and see how we can improve them.

@mdsupport , you said

Chances are when someone is stumped with an abbreviation when using professional software, either they are new to that profession or that term / feature is not relevant to them.

I agree with that somewhat. We are not new but you should know that not all of us use all the terms everyday. There are some doctors who do not know what HPI is, off the cuff. Even in IT terminology (which is crazy) the same term is used differently by laravel, codeigniter, symfony etc. Our problem here is how the term is used in OpenEMR context is the question. Once we know that, we can easily match that and use the translator to present the localized terms. So, what i said has no relationship to internationalization. It is about the usage of the term within OpenEMR itself. Additionally, it would be great to also know how the system uses these elements which would give a better perspective on how and when to use them.

My suggestion to control the release of development is not about developers. Its about completeness of packaging the release so that users would be to use new features effectively. It used to be called Release Management.

Always nice to have current and extensive documentation. Just don’t hold ONC certification release for that.

I agree it was impolite, I even told my wife I could have been more polite, but I will state once again that users get what they pay for. I’d be happy to write up documentation on OpenEMR if someone would be willing to pay me enough to cover my expenses to take care of myself, my wife, and my 7 children. Otherwise I try to write what documentation I can given the time I have.

I want to mention that the core focus of OpenEMR development right now has been getting through ONC certification and MU3 certification via CMS. If we stopped all development right now and focused on documenting the system, all those people who have donated to OpenEMR to help us get to certification will not see the benefit of their donations. At some point ONC will stop the hardship exemptions that people are currently using in the USA and all of those users will have to stop using OpenEMR if we do not get to certification. Unfortunately, we’ve had to prioritize development over documentation. If enough community members donated money earmarked specifically for product documentation, I’m sure the foundation would be happy to hire a technical writer to do what you would like to have happen. I’d guess that’d be somewhere in the realm of 20-30K to hire someone for 3-6 months to at least get some kind of basic end-user documentation that was nice and usable.

If, on the other hand the community doesn’t have that kind of funds then we rely upon time and skill donations from community members. Very few developers can write end-user documentation as its a very different skill set. I have done it before but I am 3-4X slower than your average technical writer. Every professional organization I have worked with that actually deals with ‘Release Management’ has dedicated technical writing staff to create end-user documentation. I try to write developer documentation and I am even spearheading efforts to provide developer training so we can grow the developer community. If we have more developers contributing to the project then some of us who at least have some technical writing skill sets can contribute back via documentation.

I will mention that I offered to write up documentation on the software I built for US ONC certification to the OpenEMR board as I consider that part of the package for delivering complete software. I estimated it would take an additional 2-4 weeks of time (that’s full time 40 hour weeks) to build the documentation for the piece I built for FHIR and I was specifically told NOT to do that. The board would save development time by working with the community to write up the documentation and to have myself move forward building the functionality we needed for ONC. I was told that the project needed to do that since we don’t have enough developers skilled/qualified enough to build out ONC requirements that meet federal regulation standards.


Thank you for the feedback. The phrase “users get what they pay for” can be rephrased politely as “we can only provide all that we can based on the funding we receive and the resources we can get”. May be a bit long but hits the sympathetic point in our thoughts.

I am and have been in the IT industry for a long time (since 1976 IBM 360 days). Since these days we have learned to throw away much of the standards in the garbage bin. Take ISO for instances, go through all those volumes and what do you get at the end - delays, cost overruns etc which makes the whole effort of developing the software worthless. ISO is such a rubbish that they now allow modified idiotic versions to be implemented in each country based on the government’s convenience. E.g ISO 9000 Malaysian Standards which in essence is for idiots because everything in there is so compromised. Believe me, chasing certification is an absolute waste of energy and resources. We believe in using the essence of these standards and building our software and making our standards acceptable (they will swallow) to them. We drive the standards not allow them to drive us crazy.

I totally agree ONC is needed but also needs to be challenged based on what we have done right. Once OpenEMR grows big, these people will “bend their knees”. I am not saying we should not comply to ONC. All i am saying is we should develop the software based on the user needs and satisfaction while incorporating keys essence of these standards. Dont make it “The bible”. What is the point value if the software complies 100% to ONC but loses its user audience? If you notice carefully, none of these standards ever talk about documentation standards for the software. Why? Because the practice of maintaining effective system documentation standards got lost along the way from Mainframe to Web Based computing. Anyway look at the amount questions being raised in the forum. Correct me if i am wrong, most of it points to documentation for the user.

Please do not see my feedback as negative views. These are views of a group of senior solution architects from their years of exposure. Thank you.

I’d stick with the original. Nice and succinct. Though I’d probably abbreviate it, internationalize it and go with a version in OpenEMR developer speak:
xl("YGWYPF{{You get what you pay for}}");

Better documentation is always a good thing. My suggestion would be helping to improve it. Let me know if you want a wiki account and I’d be glad to give you one (if have not done so already).

Physicians in the US will get financially penalized on reimbursement if OpenEMR is not MU3 certified. Sadly, no amount of prose will change that fact :slight_smile:


We welcome constructive feedback. That said, in a volunteer project where everyone has a voice and no one can be ‘compelled’ to do something the best thing to do to move people is by jumping in and involving yourself by contributing. I applaud your effort to update the user documentation. If you get stuck just as @saidbakr did, the forum is available. If you get to know the developers you can private message us with questions. If you attend the weekly developer meetings we make ourselves available and answer questions for free. If you want to change the direction of the project feel free to attend the monthly board meetings. If you involve yourself in the community you’ll find people much more receptive to your ideas and much more willing to respond and sacrifice their time and money to giving you what you desire.

I’m glad you are financially contributing to the project and we appreciate your willingness to offer feedback. You’re not alone in offering that feedback, but again there is only so much time and so many resources. We have many, many people willing to tell us how to work but very few that are willing to help us do that work. Believe me, I’m well aware of the many deficiencies in OpenEMR and I share your similar frustrations with the documentation but we have to choose our battles and respond to the needs of those who have donated the most to OpenEMR this year especially where we are so close to certification.

1 Like

Thank you for the reply. Appreciate the opportunity to contribute. Allow me to complete s few of my existing priority activities and i will get back to documentation. I need to do that also for my own users.

Stay safe stay free.