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Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of
health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person ...

health
via the
prevention Prevention may refer to: Health and medicine * Preventive healthcare Preventive healthcare, or prophylaxis, consists of measures taken for disease prevention.Hugh R. Leavell and E. Gurney Clark as "the science and art of preventing disease, ...
,
diagnosis Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnosis is used in many different disciplines, with variations in the use of logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, la ...
,
treatment Treatment may refer to: * Treatment (song), "Treatment" (song), a 2012 song by * Film treatment, a prose telling of a story intended to be turned into a screenplay * Medical treatment or therapy * Sewage treatment * Surface treatment or surface fi ...
, amelioration, or
cure A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication A medication (also referred to as medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to medical diagnosis, diagnose, cure, therap ...
of
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
,
illness A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical ...
,
injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a system that adversely affect its c ...

injury
, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care is delivered by
health professional A health professional (or healthcare professional) may provide health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or ...
s and allied health fields.
Medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...

Medicine
,
dentistry Dentistry, also known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, oral cavity (the mouth), commonly in the ...
,
pharmacy Pharmacy is the clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: th ...

pharmacy
,
midwifery Midwifery is the health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina ...
,
nursing Nursing is a profession within the health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illne ...

nursing
,
optometry Optometry is a health care profession that involves examining the eyes and applicable visual systems for defects or abnormalities as well as prescribing the correction of refractive error with glasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spec ...
,
audiology Audiology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...
,
psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologis ...

psychology
, occupational therapy, physical therapy,
athletic training Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association The American Medical Association (AMA), founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association and lobby group of physicians—both Doctor of Medicine, MDs and ...
, and other
health profession The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to health sciences: Health sciences – are those sciences which focus on health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also kno ...
s are all part of health care. It includes work done in providing
primary care Primary care may be provided in community health centres. Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or ...
, secondary care, and
tertiary care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to ...
, as well as in
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), C ...

public health
. Access to health care may vary across countries, communities, and individuals, influenced by social and economic conditions as well as health policies. Providing health care services means "the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes". Factors to consider in terms of healthcare access include financial limitations (such as insurance coverage),
geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (gen ...

geographic
barriers (such as additional transportation costs, the possibility to take paid time off of work to use such services), and personal limitations (lack of ability to communicate with healthcare providers, poor health literacy, low income). Limitations to health care services affects negatively the use of medical services, the efficacy of treatments, and overall outcome (well-being, mortality rates).
Health care system A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or as healthcare system, is the organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an ins ...
s are organizations established to meet the health needs of targeted populations. According to the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
(WHO), a well-functioning health care system requires a financing mechanism, a well-trained and adequately paid
workforce The workforce or labour force is the labour pool either in employment Employment is a relationship between two party (law), parties, usually based on employment contract, contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a co ...
, reliable information on which to base decisions and
policies A policy is a deliberate system of principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal co ...
, and well-maintained health facilities to deliver quality medicines and technologies. An efficient health care system can contribute to a significant part of a country's
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods and Service (economics), services by different a ...
, development, and
industrialization Industrialisation Industrialisation (or industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society An agrarian society, or agricultural society, is any community whose economy is based ...
. Health care is conventionally regarded as an important determinant in promoting the general
physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physical" (Olivia Newton-John song) *Physical ( ...
and
mental health Mental health is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community", accor ...

mental health
and
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the s ...
of people around the world. An example of this was the worldwide
eradication The word "Eradication" is derived from Latin word "radix" which means "root". It may refer to: *Genocide, the deliberate, systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group of people *Eradication of infectious diseases, the reduction ...
of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, '' Variola major'' and '' Variola minor''. The agent of variola virus (VARV) belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in Oct ...

smallpox
in 1980, declared by the WHO as the first
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
in human history to be eliminated by deliberate health care interventions.


Delivery

The delivery of modern health care depends on groups of trained
professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular kno ...
s and
paraprofessionalParaprofessional is a title given to individuals in various occupational fields, such as education, healthcare, engineering, and law. Historically, paraprofessionals assisted the master professional of their field. In more recent times, paraprofessio ...
s coming together as interdisciplinary teams.United States Department of Labor
''Employment and Training Administration: Health care''
. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
This includes professionals in
medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...

medicine
,
psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologis ...

psychology
, physiotherapy,
nursing Nursing is a profession within the health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illne ...

nursing
,
dentistry Dentistry, also known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, oral cavity (the mouth), commonly in the ...
,
midwifery Midwifery is the health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina ...
and
allied health Allied health professions are health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury ...
, along with many others such as
public health practitioners
public health practitioners
,
community health workerA community health worker (CHW) is a member of a community who is chosen by community members or organizations to provide basic health care, health and medical care within their community, and is capable of providing preventive, promotional and rehab ...
s and assistive personnel, who systematically provide personal and population-based preventive, curative and rehabilitative care services. While the definitions of the various types of health care vary depending on the different cultural, political, organizational and disciplinary perspectives, there appears to be some consensus that primary care constitutes the first element of a continuing health care process and may also include the provision of secondary and tertiary levels of care.Thomas-MacLean R et al
''No Cookie-Cutter Response: Conceptualizing Primary Health Care.''
Retrieved 26 August 2014.
Health care can be defined as either public or private.


Primary care

Hospital_train_"Therapist_Matvei_Mudrov"_in_Khabarovsk,_Russia.html" ;"title="Khabarovsk.html" ;"title="Hospital train "Therapist Matvei Mudrov" in Khabarovsk">Hospital train "Therapist Matvei Mudrov" in Khabarovsk, Russia">Khabarovsk.html" ;"title="Hospital train "Therapist Matvei Mudrov" in Khabarovsk">Hospital train "Therapist Matvei Mudrov" in Khabarovsk, Russia Primary care refers to the work of health professionals who act as a first point of consultation for all patients within the Health Care System, health care system. Such a professional would usually be a
primary care physicianImage:BloodPressure2.jpg, A patient having his blood pressure measured A primary care physician (PCP) is a physician who provides both the first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern as well as continuing care of varied medical cond ...
, such as a general practitioner or family physician. Another professional would be a licensed independent practitioner such as a , or a non-physician primary care provider such as a
physician assistant A physician assistant or physician associate (PA) is a type of Mid-level practitioner, mid-level provider. PAs may diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and may serve as a patient’s principal healthcare p ...
or
nurse practitioner A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse An advanced practice nurse (APN) is a nurse with post-graduate Postgraduate education (graduate education in North America North America is a continent entirely w ...
. Depending on the locality, health system organization the patient may see another health care professional first, such as a
pharmacist A pharmacist, also known as a chemist (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which h ...

pharmacist
or
nurse Nursing is a profession within the health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illne ...

nurse
. Depending on the nature of the health condition,
patient A patient is any recipient of health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injur ...

patient
s may be referred for secondary or tertiary care. Primary care is often used as the term for the health care services that play a role in the local community. It can be provided in different settings, such as
Urgent careUrgent care is a category of walk-in clinic in the United States focused on the delivery of ambulatory care in a dedicated medical facility outside of a traditional emergency department (emergency room). Urgent care centers primarily treat injury, in ...
centers that provide same-day appointments or services on a walk-in basis. Primary care involves the widest scope of health care, including all ages of patients, patients of all
socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
and geographic origins, patients seeking to maintain optimal
health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person ...

health
, and patients with all types of acute and chronic physical,
mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi romantic-action movie * ''Mental'', a 2008 documentary by ...

mental
and social health issues, including multiple chronic diseases. Consequently, a primary care practitioner must possess a wide breadth of knowledge in many areas. Continuity is a key characteristic of primary care, as patients usually prefer to consult the same practitioner for routine check-ups and
preventive care Preventive healthcare, or prophylaxis, consists of measures taken for disease prevention.Hugh R. Leavell and E. Gurney Clark as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental health and efficiency. ...
,
health education Health education is a profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and re ...

health education
, and every time they require an initial consultation about a new health problem. The
International Classification of Primary Care The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) is a classification method for primary care Primary care may be provided in community health centres. Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare given by a health care provider. Typically ...
(ICPC) is a standardized tool for understanding and analyzing information on interventions in primary care based on the reason for the patient's visit. Common chronic illnesses usually treated in primary care may include, for example,
hypertension Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a Chronic (medicine), long-term Disease, medical condition in which the blood pressure in the artery, arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure typically does n ...

hypertension
,
diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly known as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased appeti ...
,
asthma Asthma is a chronic (medicine), long-term inflammation, inflammatory disease of the bronchi, airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible Airway obstruction, airflow obstruction, and easily triggered b ...
,
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow. The main symptoms include shortness of breath and cough with sputum production. COPD is a pro ...
,
depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
and
anxiety Anxiety is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displ ...
, back pain,
arthritis Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, Joint effusion, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected jo ...

arthritis
or thyroid dysfunction. Primary care also includes many basic
maternal A mother is the female parent of a child. Mothers are women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Thus, dependent on the context, women can be considered mo ...
and child health care services, such as
family planning Family planning services are “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of i ...
services and
vaccination Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine to help the immune system develop protection from a disease. Vaccines contain a microorganism or virus in a weakened, live or killed state, or proteins or toxins from the organism. In stimulating ...
s. In the United States, the 2013
National Health Interview SurveyThe National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual, cross-sectional survey intended to provide nationally representative estimates on a wide range of health status and utilization measures among the nonmilitary, noninstitutionalized populati ...
found that skin disorders (42.7%), osteoarthritis and joint disorders (33.6%), back problems (23.9%), disorders of lipid metabolism (22.4%), and upper respiratory tract disease (22.1%, excluding asthma) were the most common reasons for accessing a physician. In the United States, primary care physicians have begun to deliver primary care outside of the managed care (insurance-billing) system through
direct primary care In the United States, direct primary care (DPC) is a type of primary care billing and payment arrangement made between patients and medical providers, without sending claims to Health insurance in the United States, insurance providers. It is an um ...
which is a subset of the more familiar concierge medicine. Physicians in this model bill patients directly for services, either on a pre-paid monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, or bill for each service in the office. Examples of direct primary care practices include Foundation Health in Colorado and Qliance in Washington. In the context of global
population aging Population ageing is an increasing median In statistics and probability theory, the median is the value separating the higher half from the lower half of a Sample (statistics), data sample, a statistical population, population, or a probability ...
, with increasing numbers of older adults at greater risk of chronic
non-communicable disease A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A ...
s, rapidly increasing demand for primary care services is expected in both developed and developing countries. The
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
attributes the provision of essential primary care as an integral component of an inclusive
primary health care Primary health care, or PHC, refers to "essential health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disea ...
strategy.


Secondary care

Secondary care includes
acute care Acute care is a branch of health care#Secondary Care, secondary health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery.Alberta Heal ...
: necessary treatment for a short period of time for a brief but serious illness, injury, or other health condition. This care is often found in a
hospital A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which typically has an emergency department to treat ...

hospital
emergency department. Secondary care also includes skilled attendance during
childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 135 million births globally. About 15 million ...
,
intensive care Intensive care medicine, also called critical care medicine, is a medical specialty that deals with seriously or critically ill patients who have, are at risk of, or are recovering from conditions that may be life-threatening. It includes prov ...
, and
medical imaging Medical imaging is the technique and process of imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of an image). Imaging technology is the application of materia ...
services. The term "secondary care" is sometimes used synonymously with "hospital care". However, many secondary care providers, such as
psychiatrists A psychiatrist is a physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practices medicine, which is concern ...
,
clinical psychologists Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being Well-being, also ...
,
occupational therapists Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health care professionals specializing in occupational therapy and occupational science. OTs and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) use scientific bases, and a holistic perspective to promote a person's abi ...
, most
dental specialtiesIn the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washingt ...
or s, do not necessarily work in hospitals. Some primary care services are delivered within hospitals. Depending on the organization and policies of the national health system, patients may be required to see a primary care provider for a referral before they can access secondary care. In countries that operate under a mixed market health care system, some
physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining ...

physician
s limit their practice to secondary care by requiring patients to see a primary care provider first. This restriction may be imposed under the terms of the payment agreements in private or group
health insurance Health insurance is a type of insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses. As with other types of insurance is risk among many individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health risk and healt ...
plans. In other cases, medical specialists may see patients without a referral, and patients may decide whether self-referral is preferred. In other countries patient self-referral to a
medical specialist A medical specialty is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Examples include children (paediatrics Pediatrics (American and British English differences, also spelled paedi ...
for secondary care is rare as prior referral from another physician (either a primary care physician or another specialist) is considered necessary, regardless of whether the funding is from private insurance schemes or
national health insurance National health insurance (NHI), sometimes called statutory health insurance (SHI), is a system of health insurance that insures a national population against the costs of health care. It may be administered by the public sector, the private sector, ...
. Allied health professionals, such as physical therapists,
respiratory therapists A respiratory therapist is a specialized healthcare practitioner trained in critical care and cardio-pulmonary medicine in order to work therapeutically with people suffering from acute critical conditions, cardiac and pulmonary disease. Re ...
,
occupational therapist Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health care professionals specializing in occupational therapy and occupational science. OTs and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) use scientific bases, and a holistic perspective to promote a person's abi ...
s, speech therapists, and
dietitians A dietitian, medical dietitian, or dietician is an expert in identifying and treating disease-related malnutrition Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet which does not supply a healthy amount of one or more nutrient A ...
, also generally work in secondary care, accessed through either patient self-referral or through physician referral.


Tertiary care

Tertiary care is specialized consultative health care, usually for
inpatient A patient is any recipient of health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injur ...
s and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced
medical Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...

medical
investigation and treatment, such as a
tertiary referral hospital A tertiary referral hospital (also called a tertiary hospital, tertiary referral center, tertiary care center, or tertiary center) is a hospital that provides health care#Tertiary care, tertiary care, which is a level of health care obtained from ...
. Examples of tertiary care services are
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often kn ...

cancer
management,
neurosurgery Neurosurgery or neurological surgery, known in common parlance as brain surgery, is the medical specialty A medical specialty is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Exampl ...
,
cardiac surgery Cardiac surgery, or cardiovascular surgery, is surgery on the heart or great vessels performed by cardiac surgeons. It is often used to treat complications of ischemic heart disease (for example, with coronary artery bypass grafting); to correct ...
,
plastic surgery Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. It can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery includes craniofacia ...
, treatment for severe
burn A burn is a type of injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a ...
s, advanced
neonatology Neonatology is a subspecialty of pediatrics Pediatrics ( also spelled paediatrics or pædiatrics) is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recomme ...
services, palliative, and other complex medical and surgical interventions.Emory University
School of Medicine.
Accessed 27 June 2011.


Quaternary care

The term quaternary care is sometimes used as an extension of tertiary care in reference to advanced levels of medicine which are highly specialized and not widely accessed.
Experimental medicine An experimental drug is a medicinal product (a drug or vaccine) that has not yet received approval from governmental regulatory agency, regulatory authorities for routine use in human medicine, human or veterinary medicine even though can cure a vir ...
and some types of uncommon
diagnostic Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnosis is used in many different academic discipline, disciplines, with variations in the use of logic, analytics, and experience, to determine "causality, cause an ...
or
surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a person to investigate or tr ...
procedures are considered quaternary care. These services are usually only offered in a limited number of regional or national health care centers.


Home and community care

Many types of health care interventions are delivered outside of health facilities. They include many interventions of
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), C ...

public health
interest, such as
food safety Food safety (or food hygiene) is used as a scientific method/discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness Foodborne illness (also foodborne disease and colloquially referred to as ...
surveillance, distribution of
condom A condom is a sheath-shaped Barrier contraception, barrier device used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a Sexually transmitted disease, sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are both male and female cond ...
s and needle-exchange programs for the prevention of transmissible diseases. They also include the services of professionals in residential and community settings in support of
self-care Self care is the individual practise of health management without the aid of a medical professional. In health care, self-care is any human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated, for the purpose ...
,
home careHomecare (also spelled as home care) is health care or supportive care provided by a professional caregiver A caregiver is a paid or unpaid member of a person's social network A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social ...
,
long-term care Long-term care (LTC) is a variety of services which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people with a chronic illness or disability A disability is a societal imposition on people who have impairments, making it more diffi ...
,
assisted living An assisted living residence or assisted living facility (ALF) is a housing facility for people with disabilities or for adults who cannot or who choose not to live independently. The term is popular in the United States The United State ...
, treatment for
substance use disorder Substance use disorder (SUD) is the persistent use of drugs (including alcohol) despite substantial harm and adverse consequences. Substance use disorders are characterized by an array of mental/emotional, physical, and behavioral problems such as ...
s among other types of health and social care services. Community
rehabilitation Rehabilitation or Rehab may refer to: Health * Rehabilitation (neuropsychology), therapy to regain or improve neurocognitive function that has been lost or diminished * Rehabilitation (wildlife), treatment of injured wildlife so they can be returne ...
services can assist with mobility and independence after the loss of limbs or loss of function. This can include
prostheses In medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment or Palliative care , palliation of t ...
,
orthotics Orthotics ( el, Ορθός, translit=ortho, lit=to straighten, to align) is a medical specialty A medical specialty is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Examples incl ...

orthotics
, or
wheelchair A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used when walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, problems related to old age, or disability. These can include spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, hemiplegia, and quadriplegia), cerebral pals ...

wheelchair
s. Many countries, especially in the west, are dealing with aging populations, so one of the priorities of the health care system is to help seniors live full, independent lives in the comfort of their own homes. There is an entire section of health care geared to providing seniors with help in day-to-day activities at home such as transportation to and from doctor's appointments along with many other activities that are essential for their health and well-being. Although they provide home care for older adults in cooperation, family members and care workers may harbor diverging attitudes and values towards their joint efforts. This state of affairs presents a challenge for the design of ICT (information and communication technology) for home care. Because statistics show that over 80 million Americans have taken time off of their primary employment to care for a loved one, many countries have begun offering programs such as the Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program to allow family members to take care of their loved ones without giving up their entire income. With obesity in children rapidly becoming a major concern, health services often set up programs in schools aimed at educating children about nutritional eating habits, making physical education a requirement and teaching young adolescents to have a positive self-image.


Ratings

Health care ratings Health care ratings are ratings or evaluation Evaluation is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by ...
are ratings or
evaluation Evaluation is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundarie ...

evaluation
s of health care used to evaluate the process of care and health care structures and/or outcomes of health care services. This information is translated into report cards that are generated by quality organizations, nonprofit, consumer groups and media. This evaluation of quality is based on measures of: * hospital quality *
health plan Health policy can be defined as the "decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific healthcare Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, tre ...
quality * physician quality
MERHS
healthcare treatment * quality for other health professionals * of patient experience


Related sectors

Health care extends beyond the delivery of services to patients, encompassing many related sectors, and is set within a bigger picture of financing and governance structures.


Health system

A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or healthcare system is the organization of people, institutions, and resources that deliver health care services to populations in need.


Healthcare industry

The
healthcare industry The healthcare industry (also called the medical industry or health economy) is an aggregation and integration of sectors within the economic system that provides goods and services to treat patients with Curative care, curative, Preventive medicine ...
incorporates several sectors that are dedicated to providing health care services and products. As a basic framework for defining the sector, the United Nations'
International Standard Industrial ClassificationThe International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, secu ...
categorizes health care as generally consisting of hospital activities, medical and dental practice activities, and "other human health activities." The last class involves activities of, or under the supervision of, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, scientific or diagnostic laboratories, pathology clinics, residential health facilities, patient advocates or other
allied health professions Allied health professions are health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury ...
. In addition, according to industry and market classifications, such as the
Global Industry Classification StandardThe Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) is an industry taxonomy developed in 1999 by MSCI and Standard & Poor's (S&P) for use by the global financial community. The GICS structure consists of 11 sectors, 24 industry groups, 69 industries ...
and the Industry Classification Benchmark, health care includes many categories of medical equipment, instruments and services including biotechnology, diagnostic laboratories and substances, drug manufacturing and delivery. For example, pharmaceuticals and other medical devices are the leading high technology exports of Europe and the United States. The United States dominates the biopharmaceutical field, accounting for three-quarters of the world's biotechnology revenues.


Health care research

The quantity and quality of many health care interventions are improved through the results of science, such as advanced through the medical model of health which focuses on the eradication of
illness A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical ...
through medical diagnosis, diagnosis and effective treatment. Many important advances have been made through health research, biomedical research and pharmaceutical research, which form the basis for evidence-based medicine and evidence-based practice in health care delivery. Health care research frequently engages directly with patients, and as such issues for whom to engage and how to engage with them become important to consider when seeking to actively include them in studies. While single best practice does not exist, the results of a systematic review on patient engagement suggest that research methods for patient selection need to account for both patient availability and willingness to engage. Health services research can lead to greater efficiency and equitable delivery of health care interventions, as advanced through the social model of disability, social model of health and disability, which emphasizes the societal changes that can be made to make populations healthier. Results from health services research often form the basis of evidence-based policy in health care systems. Health services research is also aided by initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence for the development of systems of health assessment that are clinically useful, timely, sensitive to change, culturally sensitive, low-burden, low-cost, built into standard procedures, and involve the patient.


Health care financing

There are generally five primary methods of funding health care systems: # General taxation to the state, county or municipality # social insurance, Social health insurance # Voluntary or private
health insurance Health insurance is a type of insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses. As with other types of insurance is risk among many individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health risk and healt ...
# Out-of-pocket expenses, Out-of-pocket payments # Donations to health charities In most countries, there is a mix of all five models, but this varies across countries and over time within countries. Aside from financing mechanisms, an important question should always be how much to spend on healthcare. For the purposes of comparison, this is often expressed as the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare. In OECD countries for every extra $1000 spent on healthcare, life expectancy falls by 0.4 years. A similar correlation is seen from the analysis carried out each year by Bloomberg. Clearly this kind of analysis is flawed in that life expectancy is only one measure of a health system's performance, but equally, the notion that more funding is better is not supported. In 2011, the health care industry consumed an average of 9.3 percent of the gross domestic product, GDP or United States dollar, US$ 3,322 (Purchasing power parity, PPP-adjusted) per capita across the 34 members of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD countries. The US (17.7%, or US$ PPP 8,508), the Netherlands (11.9%, 5,099), France (11.6%, 4,118), Germany (11.3%, 4,495), Canada (11.2%, 5669), and Switzerland (11%, 5,634) were the top spenders, however life expectancy, life expectancy in total population at birth was highest in Switzerland (82.8 years), Japan and Italy (82.7), Spain and Iceland (82.4), France (82.2) and Australia (82.0), while OECD's average exceeds 80 years for the first time ever in 2011: 80.1 years, a gain of 10 years since 1970. The US (78.7 years) ranges only on place 26 among the 34 OECD member countries, but has the highest costs by far. All OECD countries have achieved universal (or almost universal) health coverage, except the US and Mexico. (see also Health system#International comparisons, international comparisons.) In the United States, where around 18% of GDP is spent on health care, the Commonwealth Fund analysis of spend and quality shows a clear correlation between worse quality and higher spending.


Administration and regulation

The Health administration, management and administration of health care is vital to the delivery of health care services. In particular, the practice of health professionals and the operation of health care institutions is typically Regulation, regulated by national or state/provincial authorities through appropriate regulatory bodies for purposes of quality assurance. Most countries have credentialing staff in regulatory boards or health departments who document the Health professional requisites, certification or licensing of health workers and their work history.


Health information technology

Health information technology (HIT) is "the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making." Health information technology components: * Electronic health record, Electronic Health Record (EHR) - An EHR contains a patient's comprehensive medical history, and may include records from multiple providers. * Electronic Medical Record (EMR) - An EMR contains the standard medical and clinical data gathered in one's provider's office. * Personal health record, Personal Health Record (PHR) - A PHR is a patient's medical history that is maintained privately, for personal use. * Medical practice management software, Medical Practice Management software (MPM) - is designed to streamline the day-to-day tasks of operating a medical facility. Also known as practice management software or practice management system (PMS). * Health information exchange, Health Information Exchange (HIE) - Health Information Exchange allows health care professionals and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient's vital medical information electronically.


See also

* :Health care by country * Healthcare system / Health professionals * Health equity * Health policy * Tobacco_politics, Tobacco control laws * Universal health care By country:


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Health Care Health care, Primary care Public services Health care quality, *