Health care, healthcare, or medical health is the regulation or maintenance of health through the diagnosis, prevention, cure, rehabilitation, or treatment of diseases, injury, disability, and other mental and physical impairments in individuals. Healthcare is usually delivered by specialized healthcare professions and associated allied health disciplines.
The healthcare system covers everything that a patient may need, from routine illnesses to accidents and even cosmetic surgery. Most modern health care systems operate based on a system of reimbursement by the government. Although the government funds most health-care systems, private health insurance companies cover many health related issues and are often referred to as a health system, although they are not part of a government-funded system.
Healthcare professionals are known as health professionals. This refers to any person that has an occupational title in which he or she deals with the health care and well being of individuals. A nurse practitioner, medical doctor, physician’s assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist, psychotherapist, and a chiropractor can be considering health professionals. These professionals typically perform one or more healthcare functions. However, healthcare professionals include dental assistants, pharmacists, chiropractors, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, dentists, audiologists, podiatrists, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, nurses, and physician’s assistants.
The healthcare system includes three major groups: acute care hospitals, chronic care hospitals, and community-based hospitals. An acute care hospital is designed for immediate or chronic treatments to patients with the highest level of need, including the elderly, injured patients, and patients suffering from life-threatening conditions. In contrast, a chronic care hospital is meant to treat individuals for shorter periods of time and is sometimes called a facility that provides short term, outpatient care.
Comprehensive health care systems focus primarily on prevention and treatment. These healthcare centers usually focus on improving the health of an individual and their families. These centers typically have a primary goal of providing care that is consistent with a patient’s or family’s current and future needs, which is aimed at achieving maximum functional capacity. These centers focus on reducing the length of stay (LOS) of an individual and family, while maximizing the quality of the care received, while minimizing both the costs and the risk of further complications.
An example of a comprehensive health care system is St. Vincent’s Healthcare in New York. This hospital has five floors dedicated to the treatment of acute illnesses. While in the hospital, the treatment includes intensive treatment and rehabilitation to restore mobility and function for those who have sustained serious and life-threatening injuries. These hospitals utilize a multi-level trauma system that helps provide emergency care and stabilization of the patient’s condition while they are admitted.