Health care

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Health care or healthcare is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical, nursing, and allied health professions.<ref>http://www.answers.com/healthcare&r=67#copyright</ref> The organised provision of such services may constitute a health care system. This can include a specific governmental organisation such as, in the UK, the National Health Service or a cooperation across the National Health Service and Social Services as in Shared Care. Before the term "healthcare" became popular, English-speakers referred to medicine or to the health sector and spoke of the treatment and prevention of illness and disease.

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[edit] Healthcare as an industry

See also: health care system

The healthcare industry is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing industries.[citation needed] Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product of most developed nations, health care can form an enormous part of a country's economy.[citation needed] In 2003, health care costs paid to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, medical device manufacturers and other components of the health care system, consumed 15.3 percent [1] of the GDP of the United States, the largest of any country in the world. In 2001, for the OECD countries the average was 8.4 percent [2] with the United States (13.9%), Switzerland (10.9%), and Germany (10.7%) being the top three.

The healthcare industry includes the delivery of health services by health care providers. Usually such services receive payment from the patient or from the patient's insurance company; although they may be government-financed (such as the National Health Service in the United Kingdom) or delivered by charities or volunteers, particularly in poorer countries.

There are many ways of providing healthcare in the modern world. The most common way is face-to-face delivery, where care provider and patient see each other 'in the flesh'. This is what occurs in general medicine in most countries. However, healthcare is not always face-to-face; with modern telecommunications technology, in absentia health care is becoming more common. This could be when practitioner and patient communicate over the phone, video conferencing, the internet, email, text messages, or any other form of non-face-to-face communication.

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[edit] USA-specific


[edit] References

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de:Gesundheitssystem fr:Soins de santé ko:의료 id:Perawatan kesehatan ja:医療 ru:Здравоохранение fi:Terveydenhuolto sv:Sjukvård zh:医疗卫生

Health care

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