A medical treatment is a method or course of action used to combat illness or injury. Medical treatment can include medications, surgical procedures, physical therapy and many other methods of care. Medical treatment is the core of a health care system. In developed industrial countries, advanced medical technology enables patients to receive care from highly trained professionals in large hospitals. Medical treatment is often subsidized by government or private insurance.
A patient’s experience with the process of receiving medical treatment can make as much difference as the actual treatment itself. A streamlined, efficient care path is essential for good outcomes. Unnecessary delays and frustrations along the way can add to a patient’s stress, increase costs and prolong recovery. For example, a high rate of readmissions to the hospital after surgery may not harm long-term survival rates but does raise costs and can create anxiety for patients.
The practice of medicine is conducted within specific health care systems that are organized by governments, professional societies, philanthropic organizations or other groups. These systems set the legal, credentialing and financing frameworks that shape the way doctors practice medicine. In the United States, most of the country’s healthcare services are provided by the public system, which includes federally funded hospitals and clinics operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies.
Other countries have different health care systems. Some provide universal health care that covers all citizens without charge, while others have private or collectively owned health insurance systems. In either case, all these systems are designed to improve access to medical treatment.
There are numerous medical specialties, including internal medicine, which focuses on the diagnosis and management of adult diseases. Pediatrics, or child medicine, specializes in the health care of children and adolescents. Psychiatry is the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and behavioral disorders in adults and children. Radiology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the skeletal and soft tissue structures of the body.
In addition to the specialized fields, there are also various subspecialties within each main field. For example, obstetrics and gynecology is the diagnosis and treatment of disorders associated with reproduction and the female genital tract. In addition, there are several subspecialties within this field focusing on particular age ranges or organ systems.
Another specialty area is clinical trials, which are studies that compare the effectiveness of one treatment against another. These are often sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, universities, Federal offices and agencies and are conducted in medical centers, clinics and hospitals.