Health care

Prevention of disease and promotion of well-being / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Health care, or healthcare, is the improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, amelioration or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care is delivered by health professionals and allied health fields. Medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, midwifery, nursing, optometry, audiology, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, athletic training, and other health professions all constitute health care. The term includes work done in providing primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care, as well as in public health.

Global concentrations of health care resources, as depicted by the number of physicians per 10,000 individuals, by country. Data is sourced from a World Health Statistics 2010, a WHO report.[needs update]
Graphic of hospital beds per 1000 people globally in 2013, at top;[1] NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, a hub for health care and life sciences,[2] is one of the world's busiest hospitals, below. Pictured is its Weill Cornell facility (white complex at the center).

Access to healthcare may vary across countries, communities, and individuals, influenced by social and economic conditions as well as health policies. Providing health care services means "the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes".[3] Factors to consider in terms of healthcare access include financial limitations (such as insurance coverage), geographical and logistical barriers (such as additional transportation costs and the ability to take paid time off work to use such services), sociocultural expectations, and personal limitations (lack of ability to communicate with health care providers, poor health literacy, low income).[4] Limitations to health care services affects negatively the use of medical services, the efficacy of treatments, and overall outcome (well-being, mortality rates).

Health systems are organizations established to meet the health needs of targeted populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a well-functioning healthcare system requires a financing mechanism, a well-trained and adequately paid workforce, reliable information on which to base decisions and policies, and well-maintained health facilities to deliver quality medicines and technologies.

An efficient healthcare system can contribute to a significant part of a country's economy, development, and industrialization. Health care is an important determinant in promoting the general physical and mental health and well-being of people around the world.[5] 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 eliminated by deliberate healthcare interventions.[6]

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