Health care is a broad field of study that includes the promotion of health through prevention, diagnosis, treatment, amelioration, and cure. It is provided by health professionals and those in the allied health fields. The field is divided into several sub-specialties. The goal of health care is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease.
The government plays a major role in health care. It determines government health care payments, influences the number of health care providers, and regulates the use of certain drugs and devices. It also sets policy on who gets to receive health care services and how much these services should cost. The government also regulates the use of certain controlled substances and the approval process for new drugs and medical devices. However, the private sector also plays a major role in health care policy.
Many countries use a combination of these models to provide health care. The specifics vary from country to country and even within countries. The amount of money spent on health care varies, but is often expressed as a proportion of GDP. Despite the wide variations in health care spending, there is a clear link between health spending and life expectancy in OECD countries.
Primary care is an important component of health care. It includes visits to physicians and clinics that are located in the community. This care may include walk-in clinics and urgent care centers. More primary care physicians are delivering services outside of the health insurance system, through direct primary care. These physicians bill the patients directly or on a pre-paid basis. Examples of direct primary care include Foundation Health in Colorado and Qliance in Washington.
The tenets of effective care are based on patient-centered, integrated care. Whether the system is public or private, it must have a patient-majority governing board. This means that there should be a shared purpose, transparency, and inclusiveness. A shared purpose leads to a culture of trust, transparency, and humility.
There are many different types of health care providers and their roles. In addition to doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, community health workers provide services for patients. They can assist patients with their daily lives, while community rehabilitation services help those who have lost limbs or functions. There is also a huge variety of other health care providers, which encompass many related sectors and are part of the health care system.
Health care is also available for low-income individuals through public and private insurance. Both public and private insurers set their benefit packages, including cost-sharing, and must abide by state and federal regulations. The state and federal governments also provide additional funds to help these providers. Some health care providers offer free care to low-income patients.
Traditionally, physicians had a lot of autonomy. In the mid-20th century, sociological literature on the professions used the physician as an example of the full professional. The professional was viewed as acting in the best interest of his client. This contrasted with the motto of a business person.