MVP   Healthgrades Glossary

Please select a letter to view glossary terms that begin with that letter.

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Bariatric Surgery:
Bariatric surgery (gastric bypass surgery) is performed to treat severe obesity. A bariatric surgeon is a physician who performs surgery on the stomach and/or intestines of obese patients to reduce the size of the stomach, and therefore allow less food to be ingested, resulting in weight loss. Bariatric or gastric bypass surgery, also known as roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is performed to create a small pouch that bypasses part of the intestine.

Obesity is damaging to one's health: some of the negative effects of obesity are heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer, hypertension, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, arthritis; and obesity has been known to shorten one's lifespan.

Blood Banking & Transfusion Medicine:
Blood banking and transfusion medicine involves blood transfusions, and gathering and storing blood products for future use. A blood banking and transfusion physician is a physician who is concerned with maintaining an adequate supply of blood for surgeries, the safety of blood donors and patients, and the appropriate distribution of blood products. Blood components include red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Both blood donors and patients need to be tested for blood type and antibodies for safety before any procedure.

Board Certification:
Board certification is the classification given to physicians who have met specific requirements set by national specialty boards in the United States. Certification lets you know that a physician has successfully completed an accredited educational program, passed several evaluations, and possesses the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to provide care in the certified specialty. Once certified, physicians must attend continuing medical education programs throughout their careers in order to remain certified.

Board certification is a voluntary process a physician may choose to undergo. Typically, the physician must:

  • Graduated from a recognized medical school as either an MD or DO.
  • Completed several years of training in an accredited residency program.
  • Has an unrestricted license to practice medicine.
  • Passed an extensive written exam given by the board.
American Board of Medical Specialties® (ABMS®) has been designated a primary source of board certification information by the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC. Information from ABMS is proprietary data maintained in a copyrighted database compilation owned by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In some cases a specialty may have been self-reported by the physician. Such self-designation is not equivalent to AMBS board certification.

Each medical specialty has a national board responsible for setting standards physicians must meet to be certified. HealthGrades recognizes board certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (Doctor of Osteopathic medicine), and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

What this means to you:
Being board-certified means that the physician completed extensive training and underwent a rigorous review of his/her knowledge, experience and skill in that specialty area and is actively improving his/her practice of medicine through continuing education. This physician is more likely to have current and extensive knowledge about his/her specialty and how to treat your medical issue.

A physician who is not board-certified may still be an excellent physician. Some physicians choose not to apply for certification. If you are considering a doctor who is not board-certified, it may be important to know why he or she is not certified.

Bridges to Excellence® Recognition Programs:
Bridges to Excellence® (BTE) is a not for profit organization that designs and creates programs that encourage physicians and physician practices to deliver safe, more effective, and efficient care by giving them financial and other incentives to do so. BTE works with large employers, health plans, providers, and a wide range of organizations, including HealthGrades, which have a shared goal of improving quality and patient outcomes.

Physicians who receive BTE recognition pass a performance assessment program administered by one of BTE's Performance Assessment Organizations: the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), MN Community Measurement (MSCM), Masspro, or IPRO. The BTE initiative consists of programs designed to promote and reward physicians for improving the quality of patient care:

  • Cardiac Care Link
  • Diabetes Care Link
  • Spine Care Link
  • Physician Office Link
  • BTE Medical Home
BTE offers three levels of recognition through its approved Performance Assessment Organizations. Higher recognition levels require physicians to meet higher thresholds in performance measure areas.
  • Level 1 Recognition recognizes physicians and practices that demonstrate above average performance.
  • Level 2 Recognition recognizes physicians and practices that demonstrate very good performance.
  • Level 3 Recognition recognizes physicians and practices that demonstrate exceptional performance.

BTE Medical Home:
A medical home provides patients with access to quality health care from doctors who practice evidence-based guidelines; use appropriate health information technology; and demonstrate the use of "best practices" while being accountable for the quality and value of care.

The BTE Medical Home program seeks to improve the quality of care for all patients by recognizing and rewarding physicians for demonstrating that they have adopted really good systems and processes of care, and are using those systems to deliver positive results in the management of their patients - in particular patients with chronic conditions. BTE Medical Home designation is achieved through a combination of BTE's Care Link and Physician Office Link programs.

BTE Medical Home recognition is a combination of BTE's existing programs:

  • Good Systems and Processes - means that the physician has achieved Level II or III recognition in the BTE Physician Office Link program, which demonstrates that the physician is collecting and using information to manage patient care, and the physician uses electronic systems to promote patient safety.
  • Good Outcomes - means that the physician has achieved Level 2 or 3 recognition in any two BTE condition-specific programs, which demonstrates that the physician is improving delivery of care and is measuring and reporting clinical performance.
For more information on BTE's Medical Home program, go to