Health care refers to any service, device or solution designed to promote good health and well-being for you and your family. It may involve medical, surgical and emergency services but also wellness, fitness and prevention measures.
Healthcare encompasses day care, home and community based services for elderly, disabled and chronically ill individuals. Healthcare professionals provide these services. Health practitioners include physicians, nurses, allied health professionals (such as therapists and social workers ), aides/assistants/aides-de-camp, pharmacists/dentists/support personnel. Health-care professionals may work for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, or private non-profits such as foundations, private corporations or religious institutions. Their qualifications range from generalized service provision to more specialized fields like burn surgery, cardiovascular disease management or obstetrics.
Healthcare services delivery is affected by numerous factors, including individual needs for healthcare and its cost. Individual needs are determined by individual characteristics and behaviors as well as physical environment and socioeconomic circumstances such as family income, gender, age, language spoken at home, geographic location and race and ethnicity – these being determined by people themselves and society alike. Attitudes beliefs and values also impact delivery.
Medicare and Medicaid funded by taxpayers as well as employer sponsored private insurance are major determinants of healthcare delivery in the US, while third party payers interfere with patient choice and the physician-patient healing relationship. Healthcare delivery systems can be complex with public, privately insured and uninsured patients being covered and difficult to evaluate in terms of performance evaluation.
Health care delivery systems are also affected by laws, regulations and policies which dictate availability, cost and quality of care. These laws include regulations regarding pricing, funding and market structure that can increase costs or limit its availability; while regulations and pricing may increase costs and limit availability; funding/market structure details how much of a delivery system is publicly funded (if at all).
Although the United States spends more on health care than most OECD nations, it ranks lower on many measures of effectiveness and equity. For instance, cancer screening rates in America are among the highest but survival rates remain lower – one reason being its one of a-kind influenza vaccination schedule that trails that of most other nations.
Access to health care is affected by multiple factors, including affordability and convenience of transportation to healthcare providers, poverty levels and poor lifestyle choices that limit purchasing ability such as overeating and obesity, smoking excessive alcohol use, sexual irresponsibility or lack of exercise limiting access. Furthermore, poverty limits the ability to purchase essential services like mammograms/Pap smears/Influenza vaccine and Hepatitis A/B immunizations among others. Inequitable access also depends on lifestyle factors like overeating/obesity/overeating/obesity/renting utilities/purchase healthcare services/purchase. Furthermore, poor habits/lifestyle choices limit healthcare access such as overeating/obesity/sexual irresponsible behavior/lack of exercise/lack of exercise etc.