Baztab News

Health care

08 Aug 2018 National Radio TV of Afghanistan

Health care or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Healthcare is delivered by health professionals(providers or practitioners) in allied health fields. Physicians and physician associates are a part of these health professionals. Dentistry, midwifery, nursing, medicine, optometry, audiology, pharmacy, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health professions are all part of healthcare. It includes work done in providing primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care, as well as in public health.

Access to health care may vary across countries, communities, and individuals, largely influenced by social and economic conditions as well as the health policies in place. Countries and jurisdictions have different policies and plans in relation to the personal and population-based health care goals within their societies. Healthcare systems are organizations established to meet the health needs of targeted populations. Their exact configuration varies between national and subnational entities. In some countries and jurisdictions, health care planning is distributed among market participants, whereas in others, planning occurs more centrally among governments or other coordinating bodies. In all cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a well-functioning healthcare system requires a robust financing mechanism; a well-trained and adequately paid workforce; reliable information on which to base decisions and policies; and well maintained health facilities and logistics to deliver quality medicines and technologies.[1]

Healthcare can contribute to a significant part of a country’s economy. In 2011, the healthcare industry consumed an average of 9.3 percent of the GDP or US$ 3,322 (PPP-adjusted) per capita across the 34 members of OECD countries. The US (17.7%, or US$ PPP 8,508), the Netherlands (11.9%, 5,099), France (11.6%, 4,118), Germany (11.3%, 4,495), Canada (11.2%, 5669), and Switzerland (11%, 5,634) were the top spenders, however life expectancy in total population at birth was highest in Switzerland (82.8 years), Japan and Italy (82.7), Spain and Iceland (82.4), France (82.2) and Australia (82.0), while OECD’s average exceeds 80 years for the first time ever in 2011: 80.1 years, a gain of 10 years since 1970. The US (78.7 years) ranges only on place 26 among the 34 OECD member countries, but has the highest costs by far. All OECD countries have achieved universal (or almost universal) health coverage, except the US and Mexico.[2][3] (see also international comparisons.)

Health care is conventionally regarded as an important determinant in promoting the general physical and mental health and well-being of people around the world. An example of this was the worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1980, declared by the WHO as the first disease in human history to be completely eliminated by deliberate health care interventions.[4]

Primary care refers to the work of health professionals who act as a first point of consultation for all patients within the health care system.[6][8] Such a professional would usually be a primary care physician, such as a general practitioner or family physician. Another professional would be a licensed independent practitioner such as a physiotherapist, or a non-physician primary care provider such as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Depending on the locality, health system organization the patient may see another health care professional first, such as a pharmacist or nurse. Depending on the nature of the health condition, patients may be referred for secondary or tertiary care.

Primary care is often used as the term for the health care services that play a role in the local community. It can be provided in different settings, such as Urgent care centers which provide same day appointments or services on a walk-in basis.

Primary care involves the widest scope of health care, including all ages of patients, patients of all socioeconomic and geographic origins, patients seeking to maintain optimal health, and patients with all types of acute and chronic physical, mental and social health issues, including multiple chronic diseases. Consequently, a primary care practitioner must possess a wide breadth of knowledge in many areas. Continuity is a key characteristic of primary care, as patients usually prefer to consult the same practitioner for routine check-ups and preventive care, health education, and every time they require an initial consultation about a new health problem. The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) is a standardized tool for understanding and analyzing information on interventions in primary care based on the reason for the patient’s visit.[9]

Common chronic illnesses usually treated in primary care may include, for example: hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, depression and anxiety, back pain, arthritis or thyroid dysfunction. Primary care also includes many basic maternal and child health care services, such as family planning services and vaccinations. In the United States, the 2013 National Health Interview Survey found that skin disorders (42.7%), osteoarthritis and joint disorders (33.6%), back problems (23.9%), disorders of lipid metabolism (22.4%), and upper respiratory tract disease (22.1%, excluding asthma) were the most common reasons for accessing a physician.[10]

In the United States, primary care physicians have begun to deliver primary care outside of the managed care (insurance-billing) system through direct primary care which is a subset of the more familiar concierge medicine. Physicians in this model bill patients directly for services, either on a pre-paid monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, or bill for each service in the office. Examples of direct primary care practices include Foundation Health in Colorado and Qliance in Washington.

In context of global population aging, with increasing numbers of older adults at greater risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, rapidly increasing demand for primary care services is expected in both developed and developing countries.[11][12] The World Health Organization attributes the provision of essential primary care as an integral component of an inclusive primary health care strategy.[6]

Secondary care includes acute care: necessary treatment for a short period of time for a brief but serious illness, injury, or other health condition. This care is often found in a hospital emergency department. Secondary care also includes skilled attendance during childbirth, intensive care, and medical imaging services.

The term “secondary care” is sometimes used synonymously with “hospital care.” However, many secondary care providers, such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, most dental specialties or physiotherapists do not necessarily work in hospitals. Some primary care services are delivered within hospitals. Depending on the organization and policies of the national health system, patients may be required to see a primary care provider for a referral before they can access secondary care. Physiotherapists are both primary and secondary care providers that do not require a referral.

In the United States, which operates under a mixed market health care system, some physicians might voluntarily limit their practice to secondary care by requiring patients to see a primary care provider first. This restriction may be imposed under the terms of the payment agreements in private or group health insurance plans. In other cases, medical specialists may see patients without a referral, and patients may decide whether self-referral is preferred.

In the United Kingdom and Canada, patient self-referral to a medical specialist for secondary care is rare as prior referral from another physician (either a primary care physician or another specialist) is considered necessary, regardless of whether the funding is from private insurance schemes or national health insurance.

Allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and dietitians, also generally work in secondary care, accessed through either patient self-referral or through physician referral.

Tertiary care is specialized consultative health care, usually for inpatients and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment, such as a tertiary referral hospital.[13]

Examples of tertiary care services are cancer management, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, treatment for severe burns, advanced neonatology services, palliative, and other complex medical and surgical interventions

Quaternary care[edit]

The term quaternary care is sometimes used as an extension of tertiary care in reference to advanced levels of medicine which are highly specialized and not widely accessed. Experimental medicine and some types of uncommon diagnostic or surgical procedures are considered quaternary care. These services are usually only offered in a limited number of regional or national health care centers.[14][15] Quaternary care is more prevalent in the United Kingdom.

Home and community care[edit]

See also: Public health

Many types of health care interventions are delivered outside of health facilities. They include many interventions of public health interest, such as food safety surveillance, distribution of condoms and needle-exchange programs for the prevention of transmissible diseases.

They also include the services of professionals in residential and community settings in support of self care, home care, long-term care, assisted living, treatment for substance use disorders among other types of health and social care services.

Community rehabilitation services can assist with mobility and independence after loss of limbs or loss of function. This can include prosthesis, orthotics or wheelchairs.

Many countries, especially in the west are dealing with aging populations, so one of the priorities of the health care system is to help seniors live full, independent lives in the comfort of their own homes. There is an entire section of health care geared to providing seniors with help in day-to-day activities at home such as transportation to and from doctor’s appointments along with many other activities that are essential for their health and well-being. Although they provide home care for older adults in cooperation, family members and care workers may harbor diverging attitudes and values towards their joint efforts. This state of affairs presents a challenge for the design of ICT (information and communication technology) for home care.[16]

Because statistics show that over 80 million Americans have taken time off of their primary employment to care for a loved one,[17] many countries have begun offering programs such as Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program to allow family members to take care of their loved ones without giving up their entire income.[citation needed]

With obesity in children rapidly becoming a major concern, health services often set up programs in schools aimed at educating children about nutritional eating habits, making physical education a requirement and teaching young adolescents to have positive self-image.

Original Link: https://rta.org.af/eng/2018/08/08/health-care/

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