Home Healthcare Articles 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
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.