Medical treatment is examination, diagnosis and medical or surgical intervention of a person suffering from a disease or injury. It is also a health service that aims to prevent illness or to maintain good health in people already sick, using the latest medical knowledge.
Medicine is a broad field that encompasses several branches including biomedical science, clinical medicine and behavioural science. The history of medicine can be traced back to ancient Greece, where Hippocrates introduced the Hippocratic Oath and laid the foundation for the scientific approach to medicine. Modern medicine uses a model of the body as an organism that is regulated by self-healing systems. The modern field of medicine includes a variety of specialties and sub-disciplines:
Primary care, family practice or general practice is the first point of contact for many patients with non-emergency problems in most countries. It usually takes place in physician offices, clinics and hospitals but may also include home visits.
Emergency medicine is concerned with the investigation and treatment of acute illnesses that are life threatening or potentially life threatening, and is typically delivered in hospital settings. A number of other disciplines are associated with the emergency department, including trauma and trauma surgery, resuscitation and emergency nursing.
Psychiatry is the study of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mental, perceptual and emotional disorders. It is a medical discipline closely related to psychotherapy and clinical psychology. Physiotherapy is the medical and surgical treatment of the joints and soft tissues of the body, for example the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. Medical physics (or radiology) is the scientific discipline concerned with the application of the principles of physics and engineering to medicine, in particular the use of diagnostic imaging technologies to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the body.
Other medical treatments are aimed at preventing or ameliorating the effects of disease, for instance in the form of vaccinations and drugs. They can be used to treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions, from common infections such as influenza, gastroenteritis or sexually transmitted diseases to serious conditions such as cancer.
It is important for anyone receiving medical treatment to be fully aware of all the options available to them, along with their benefits and risks. This is called shared decision making and can help ensure you get the right treatment for you. It is also important to consider your religious beliefs, lifestyle and values when deciding on medical treatment. If you are a carer and need to make decisions for someone else, it is wise to record their wishes in an advance care directive. Medical treatment is also influenced by other factors such as the individual’s level of motivation to be well and their capacity for recovery. The types of outcomes that matter most to patients are described as Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 outcomes involve health status, such as mortality rates. Tier 2 involves the quality of care, such as avoiding unnecessarily prolonged stays in hospital or unnecessary or repeated re-admissions.