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   Health care

Health care or healthcare is an industry associated with the the prevention, treatment, and management of illness along with the promotion of mental, physical and spiritual well-being through the services offered by the medical and allied health professions.

It is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing industries, consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product of most developed nations.

The industry includes the delivery of health services by specialist providers, such as midwives, doctors, nurses, therapists, home health aides, vaccination technicians and physician's assistants. It includes preventive care, vaccination, screening, diagnosis, prescribing and administration of medicine, surgery, observation, and attendance at childbirth. Usually such services receive payment from the patient or from the patient's insurance company, although they may be government-financed (such as the National Health Service in the UK) or delivered by charities or volunteers, particularly in poorer countries.

Health care can form an enormous part of a country's economy. In 2000, health care costs paid to hospitals, doctors, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, medical device manufacturers and other components of the health care system, consumed an estimated 14 percent of the GNP of the United States, the largest of any country in the world. For the G7 countries the average is about nine percent.

Prior to the popularisation of the holistic neologism healthcare, English-speakers referred to medicine or to the health sector and spoke of the treatment and prevention of illness and disease.

   Medical and social model of healthcare

The more generally accepted view of healthcare is that improvements result from advancements in medical science. The medical model focusses on the eradication of illness through diagnosis and effective treatment. In contrast the social model of healthcare places emphasis on changes that can be made in society and in people's own lifestyles to make the population healthier. It defines illness from the point of view of the individual's functioning within their society rather than by monitoring for changes in biological or physiological signs.

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