Levels of health care

In the curative domain there are various forms of medical practice. They may be thought of generally as forming a pyramidal structure, with three tiers representing increasing degrees of specialization and technical sophistication but catering to diminishing numbers of patients as they are filtered out of the system at a lower level. Only those patients who require special attention either for diagnosis or treatment should reach the second (advisory) or third (specialized treatment) tiers where the cost per item of service becomes increasingly higher. The first level represents primary health care, or first contact care, at which patients have their initial contact with the health-care system. Primary health care is an integral part of a country’s health maintenance system, of which it forms the largest and most important part. As described in the declaration of Alma-Ata, primary health care should be “based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development.” Primary health care in the developed countries is usually the province of a medically qualified physician; in the developing countries first contact care is often provided by nonmedically qualified personnel. The vast majority of patients can be fully dealt with at the primary level. Those who cannot are referred to the second tier (secondary health care, or the referral services) for the opinion of a consultant with specialized knowledge or for X-ray examinations and special tests. Secondary health care often requires the technology offered by a local or regional hospital. Increasingly, however, the radiological and laboratory services provided by hospitals are available directly to the family doctor, thus improving his service to ... (300 of 16486 words)

Encyclopedia of Public Health: Access To Health Services Top

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Rural environments present unique challenges for health care access. There are often shortages of medical personnel in rural areas, as well as transportation and distance barriers to care and an increasing economic destabilization of rural health care services. Since the mid-twentieth century, physicians have favored urban and suburban practice locations over rural areas. Physicians often need lucrative practices to repay high education debts, and they have been trained to use costly new technologies in diagnosis and treatment. Rural practice locations typically generate lower income for the physician and have fewer and older technology resources than urban and suburban locations. Modern medical school graduates are rarely well

Small rural health care providers. However. and treatment. churches. Home-based services in rural areas must. and in patient's homes. For example. especially hospitals. yet the time expended is the same. artery repair. Coronary bypass surgery. physician assistants. Many rural hospitals and providers have diversified services to increase revenues. and market forces contribute to the economic destabilization of many rural health care systems. Physician shortages are most visible in primary prevention. this strategy often fails and the hospital must close. advanced trauma care. and the entire community is left with no access to urgent or emergency care. and other complex procedures require specialized medical teams. cannot afford the equipment and personnel necessary to treat the entire array of modern disease and injury. The urban nurse will be reimbursed for five visits and the rural nurse for two. or fee scales. immunizations) situated in central locations. Advances in medical technology. spending most of the time traveling. prenatal care. the ability of people to get to those services. The majority of patients admitted to rural hospitals are either too frail to withstand travel to distant hospitals or cannot afford either the travel or the cost of care in urban areas. As costs increase. People with financial resources and the ability to travel tend to use distant urban centers even for less complex needs. the area suffers from the significant loss of employment. In addition. while a nurse in a rural setting may visit only one or two patients. Because of the distances between service locations or patient residences. Price controls most severely affect rural health systems. leading to greater shortages of personnel. especially home-based or mobile services. Closures leave the very old. Consequently. a home health nurse may visit five patients in a morning within an urban apartment building. Emergency medical services in such areas are scattered over great distances and often staffed . the fewer the available health services and the longer the travel distances to access these services. the cost per unit of service is often many times greater than in urban locations. The lower the population density and the larger the area over which the population is distributed.g. Prices. and facilities. Reduced fees and the refusal of insurers to pay for care often destabilize private professional practices in rural areas. mobile clinics. Practice locations include publicly or charitably subsidized comprehensive primary-care centers or categorical service clinics (e. access public or charitable subsidization in order to remain economically viable. Public health systems and an array of alternative primarycare providers often fill in the gaps. and the economic viability of the services. Specialty physician services (such as psychiatry or dermatology) may also be available through intermittent clinics in local facilities. Primary care may be provided by nurse practitioners.. the disabled. Low population density and greater travel times and barriers in rural areas affect service availability. or home-health nurses. equipment. Such resources are economically viable only in hospitals and surgical centers with high volumes of patients. increasing costs. such as health departments. Accessing complex care in urban medical centers often generates a patient perception that all rural hospital care is of lower quality. therefore. rural communities suffer chronic physician shortages. Lower population density also means a lower volume of patients and less provider income. Consequently.prepared to practice in rural environments. for services include the minimum estimated cost of providing each service. or schools. and the poor with no access to hospital inpatient care. public and private insurers must struggle to control their expenditures. family planning. rural residents must often travel great distances to access more costly and complex levels of care. diagnosis. Neither of these populations generates reimbursements adequate to cover the costs of services.

causing increased morbidity and mortality. almost all physicians engaged in "general practice"—the provision of medical and surgical care for all diseases and for all patients. Germany. Politics & Society > US History Encyclopedia The term "health care system" refers to a country's system of delivering services for the prevention and treatment of disease and for the promotion of physical and mental well-being. Canada. the rise of "minimally invasive" surgery a century later contributed to the movement of many surgical procedures out of hospitals and into doctors' offices and other outpatient locations. such as psychiatry and dermatology. primary care physicians. Health care systems. such as western Kansas. or in massive corporate organizations. or Medicaid) and how much money is spent on medical care. doctors engaged in "solo practice. Thus. reflecting the different cultural values and mores of those societies. or suburban locations). Public Health Nursing) — SUSAN W. Of particular interest to a health care system is how medical care is organized. the rise of modern surgery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped create the modern hospital in the United States and helped lead to the concentration of so many medical and surgical services in hospital settings. financed. and delivered. Emergency care for severe trauma or major acute illnesses. such as stroke and heart attack. For instance. magnify the effects of distance. doctors' offices. The organization of care refers to such issues as who gives care (for example. Medicare. specialist physicians. may take longer to arrive than in other areas. are not fixed but are continually evolving. Migrant Workers. but the health care systems of these nations vary considerably. In part. A country's health care system also reflects in part the culture and values of that society. like medical knowledge and medical practice. Prevention. in hospitals. and alternative practitioners) and whether they are practicing as individuals. The financing of care involves who pays for medical services (for example." whereby they practiced by themselves without . and Great Britain follow similar medical practices. in large groups. The delivery of care refers to how and where medical services are provided (for example. such as mountains or rivers. France. urban. or various types of outpatient clinics. physicians in the United States. Traditional Medical Practice in America For the first century of the republic. health care systems reflect the changing scientific and technologic nature of medical practice.with volunteers who have other jobs. Primary Care. Poor roads or geographic barriers. are beginning to use telemedicine to improve access for primary care and certain specialty care. (SEE ALSO: Immunizations. More remote areas with the capacity to pay for the technology. private insurance. in small groups. However. HEATHER REED US History Encyclopedia: Health Care Top Home > Library > History. ISAAC. and in rural. regardless of sex and age. Typically. Poverty and Health. self-pay. nurses. Prenatal Care.

Many physicians could not be kept busy practicing medicine. population was still 50 percent rural. where larger concentrations of patients could be found. and it was common for doctors to have a second business like a farm. and patients would pay out of pocket. general store.S. and together they contained about one million beds. competition to "regular medicine" from alternative healers had markedly slackened. the U. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century and first quarter of the twentieth century. and doctors often received payment in kind—a chicken or box of fruit rather than money. or pharmacy. but already 80 percent of physicians resided in cities or large towns. fueled by the revolution in medical science (particularly the rise of bacteriology and modern surgery). and the average U. Reflecting the rural makeup of the country. and many effective new drugs and operations—the cultural authority of doctors continued to grow.) Most physicians continued in solo. was not high. fee-for-service practice." In 1875. the number of acute care hospitals had increased to around 7.partners. about 75 to 80 percent of doctors continued to engage in general practice. By 1930. Decade by decade. However. Medicine at this time was not an easy way for an individual to earn a living. Doctors' offices were typically at their homes or farms. hormones. The location of care moved to doctors' offices for routine illnesses and to hospitals for surgery. antiseizure medications. the technologic capacity and cultural authority of physicians in the United States began to escalate. doctors were increasingly found in larger metropolises. safer childbirth. childbirth. Since most hospitals were concentrated in cities and large towns. particularly in the South. Competition for patients from alternative healers diminished. most physicians resided in rural settings. on average. and faith healers. physician earned 2½ times the income of the average worker. and most Americans thought of consulting a doctor if they needed medical services. Residency programs in the clinical specialties had been created. hospital wards were segregated by race. and by 1940 formal certifying boards in the major clinical specialties had been established. Doctors would give patients a bill. a "two-tiered" system of health care officially existed—private rooms in hospitals for paying patients. vitamins. the hospital came to be considered the "doctor's workshop. As one manifestation of this phenomenon. Before World War II (1939–1945). specialty medicine was already becoming prominent. Payment was on the "fee-for-service" basis. Indeed. and large wards for indigent patients where as many as thirty or forty "charity" patients would be housed together in one wide open room. Table 1 Specialization in Medicine American Board of Ophthalmology American Board of Pediatrics 191 6 193 3 . House calls were common. Physician income. In the 1920s. (Some medical specialists earned much more. fueled by the growing results of scientific research and the resultant transformation of medical practice—antibiotics. and major medical problems.000. Doctors also experienced vigorous competition for patients from a variety of alternative or lay healers like Thomsonians. By 1940. there were 661 hospitals in the United States containing in aggregate about 30. and health care was not yet considered a fundamental right.000 beds. homeopaths.S. In many hospitals and clinics.

Equally impressive therapeutic procedures came into use. mechanical ventilators. average life expectancy in the United States was forty-seven years. openheart surgery. antihypertensive drugs. radioimmunoassays. most notably the polio vaccine. stroke. immunosuppressants. chronic diseases such as cancer. and the major causes of death each year were various infections. Most Americans now faced the . New vaccines. computerized tomography. and by the end of the century life expectancy in the United States had increased about 30 years from that of 1900. corticosteroids. such as newer and more powerful antibiotics.Specialization in Medicine American Board of Radiology American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology American Board of Orthopedic Surgery 193 4 193 4 193 4 American Board of Colon and Rectal 193 Surgery 4 American Board of Urology American Board of Pathology American Board of Internal Medicine American Board of Anesthesiology American Board of Plastic Surgery American Board of Surgery American Board of Neurological Surgery 193 5 193 6 193 6 193 7 193 7 193 7 194 0 The Transformation of Health Care. such as automated chemistry analyzers. By midcentury. hip replacements. were developed. kidney dialysis machines. and heart attacks had replaced infections as the major causes of death. and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. 1945–1985 The four decades following World War II witnessed even more extraordinary advances in the ability of medical care to prevent and relieve suffering. Powerful diagnostic tools were developed. and a variety of organ transplantations. In 1900.

resulted in profound changes in the country's health care delivery system.S. Lee Iacocca.) Many patients and health policy experts complained of the fragmentation of services that resulted from increasing specialization." which was estimated to be two to four times as much as in other Western industrialized nations. This change in attitude was financed by the rise of "third-party payers" that brought more and more Americans into the health care system. for they were competing with foreign companies that paid far less for employee health insurance than they did. while president of Chrysler in the late 1970s. To most observers. instead. These exceptional scientific accomplishments. the health care system was under increasing stress. this meant unprecedented financial prosperity and minimal interference by payers in medical decision-making. Third-party payers of this era continued to reimburse physicians and hospitals on a fee-for-service basis. In 1965. In the 1940s. 1950s. Despite these accomplishments.problem of helping their parents or grandparents cope with Alzheimer's disease or cancer rather than that of standing by helplessly watching their children suffocate to death from diphtheria. when and how to turn off an artificial life-support device. however. however. how to preserve patient autonomy and to obtain proper informed consent for clinical care or research trials. Table 2 . Employers found their competitiveness in the global market to be compromised. The increasingly complicated U. others argued that there was an overemphasis on disease treatment and a relative neglect of disease prevention and health promotion.S. The egalitarian spirit of post–World War II society resulted in the new view that health care was a fundamental right of all citizens. these problems seemed even more insurmountable. the enactment of the landmark Medicare (a federal program for individuals over 65) and Medicaid (joint federal and state programs for the poor) legislation extended health care coverage to millions of additional Americans. most American physicians were still general practitioners. that number had climbed to around 48 million. physicians increasingly began to practice in groups with other physicians. When he left office in 2001. together with the development of the civil rights movement after World War II. expenditures on health care in dollars increased nearly sixfold. In the era of the soaring federal budget deficits of the Reagan administration. 85 to 90 percent of medical graduates were choosing careers in specialty or subspecialty medicine. For providers of medical care. In the fifteen years following the passage of Medicare and Medicaid. hospitals. not merely a privilege. Tens of millions of Americans still did not have access to health care. for institutions with segregated wards were ineligible to receive federal payments. private medical insurance companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield began providing health care insurance to millions of middle-class citizens. Millions of Americans became unwillingly tied to their employers. Fewer and fewer doctors were engaged in solo practice. compared with only 10 percent who worried about the quality of care. health care system became inundated with paperwork and "red tape. (When President Bill Clinton assumed office in 1993. Before the war. Public opinion polls of the early 1980s revealed that 60 percent of the population worried about health care costs. and health care costs rose from 6 percent to 9 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).S. And the scientific and technological advances of medicine created a host of unprecedented ethical issues: the meaning of life and death. the number of uninsured Americans was estimated at 40 million. unable to switch to a better job because of the loss of health care benefits if they did so. stunned many Americans by pointing out that U. Medicare and Medicaid also brought to an end the era of segregation at U. automobile companies were spending more per car on health premiums for workers than for the steel that went into the automobiles. and 1960s. by 1960. the most critical problem of the health care system was soaring costs.

It has forced the medical profession for the first time to think seriously about costs. soaring medical care costs. Managed care has also resulted in a serious loss of trust in doctors and the health care system—creating a widespread fear that doctors might be acting as "double agents. the country once again faced double-digit health care inflation." allegedly serving patients but in fact refusing them needed tests and procedures in order to save money for the employing organization or insurance company.5 percent $40 billion (est. led to the business-imposed approach of "managed care. By the 1980s. and in the early years of President George Walker Bush's administration.) 6 percent $230 billion 9 percent $1. In the view of many. medical schools. However. coupled with the inability of federal regulations and the medical profession on its own to achieve any meaningful cost control. and the dollar-dominated medical marketplace has been highly injurious to medical education.U. and the requirement that patients be allowed to see specialists only if referred by a "gatekeeper. Unquestionably. the twenty-first century has . mandated preauthorizations before hospitalization or surgery. there have been serious drawbacks to managed care that in the view of many observers have outweighed its accomplishments. when that can be done safely. Kaiser Permanente. 1985–present In the mid-1980s.7 billion 4.S. and teaching hospitals. Any cost savings that were achieved were considered a secondary benefit. severe restrictions on the length of time a patient may remain in the hospital. better parking and more palatable hospital food)." "Managed care" is a generic term that refers to a large variety of reimbursement plans in which third-party payers attempt to control costs by limiting the utilization of medical services. Health Care Costs Dollars 1950 1965 1980 2000 Percentage of GDP $12. Examples of such cost-savings strategies include the requirement that physicians prescribe drugs only on a plan's approved formulary. however. and it has stimulated the use of modern information technologies and business practices in the U. it has encouraged greater attention to patients as consumers (for example. the first health maintenance organization. the managed care movement has encouraged physicians to move many treatments and procedures from hospitals to less costly ambulatory settings. the attempt to control costs had become the dominant force underlying the managed care movement.2 trillion 14 percent The Managed Care Era. in contrast to the "hands off" style of traditional feefor-service payment. health care system. Managed care has not kept its promise of controlling health care costs. As a result.S. the emphasis on cost containment has come at the erosion of the quality of care." Ironically. had been organized in the 1930s to achieve better coordination and continuity of care and to emphasize preventive medical services. In addition. the managed care movement has brought much good.

Better access to the system must also be provided. Certain causes of health care inflation are desirable and inevitable: an aging population and the development of new drugs and technologies. Instead of spending 95 percent of their premiums on health care (a "medical loss" of 95 percent). a more accessible system of highquality care will tend to lead to higher costs. the inflationary consequences of having a "third party" pay the bill (thereby removing incentives from both doctors and patients to conserve dollars). and affordable costs. such as Kaiser Permanente. In the twenty-first century. and recognizing that individuals must assume responsibility for their own health by choosing a healthy lifestyle. a litigious culture that results in the high price of "defensive medicine. Thus. These include the high administrative costs of the U. many of the perceived abuses of managed care have less to do with the principles of managed care than with the presence of the profit motive in investor-owned managed care organizations. Medical insurance alone will not solve the health problems of a poor urban community where there are no hospitals. since 90 percent of managed care organizations are investor-owned companies. For-profit managed care companies.S. the for-profit problem is highly significant. This can be done by recognizing the broad determinants of health like good education and meaningful employment opportunities.opened with a significant public backlash against managed care and a vociferous "patients' rights movement. Any efforts at cost containment must continue to be appropriately balanced with efforts to maintain high quality and patient advocacy in medical care. responsible health care delivery system in the United States at a more affordable price. the American public must be wise and courageous enough to maintain realistic expectations of medicine." a profligate American practice style in which many doctors often perform unnecessary tests and procedures. health care system consider the for-profit motive in the delivery of medical services—rather than managed care per se—the more serious problem. or pharmacies. and the existence of for-profit managed care organizations and hospital chains that each year divert billions of dollars of health care premiums away from medical care and into private wealth. or even 60 percent of the premiums on health services. Future Challenges The U. seek to minimize what they call the "medical loss"—the portion of the health care premium that is actually used for health care. 70. However. retain about 5 percent of the health premiums they receive for administrative and capital expenses and use the remaining 95 percent to provide health care for enrollees. health care system has three primary goals: the provision of high-quality care. The practical problem in health care policy is that the pursuit of any two of these goals aggravates the third. However. Nonprofit managed care organizations. Only when all these issues are satisfactorily taken into account will the United States have a health care delivery system that matches the promise of what medical science and practice have to offer. ready access to the system. Lastly. health care system. while a low-cost system available to everyone is likely to be achieved at the price of diminishing quality. clinics. avoiding the "medicalization" of social ills like crime and drug addiction. At some point hard decisions will have to be made about what services will and will not be paid for. doctors. Yet the wiser and more efficient use of resources is only one challenge to our country's health care system. they spend only 80. Some astute observers of the U. the country will still face the problem of limited resources and seemingly limitless demand. retaining the rest for the financial benefit of executives and investors.S. other causes of soaring health care costs are clearly less defensible. there is much room to operate a more efficient.S. in contrast. Clearly. Bibliography ." Ironically.

David. Lundberg. 1987. 1911– 1965.Fox. 1993. Rosemary. George. The Structure of American Medical Practice. The Profit Motive and Patient Care: The Changing Accountability of Doctors and Hospitals. Paul. New York: Basic Books. Mass. Charles E. Howard H. Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page. Health Politics: The British and American Experience. America's Health in the Balance: Choice or Chance? New York: Harper and Row. Medicine. The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry. Fuchs. Time to Heal: American Medical Education from the Turn of the Century to the Era of Managed Care. Money. see Health care (disambiguation). Kenneth M. The Health Economy. 2000. 1986. New York: Basic Books.J. Mass. Cambridge. Rosenberg. 1983. . Health Policies. New York: Basic Books. 1989. Painful Choices: Research and Essays on Health Care. Edited by Charles E. Princeton. In Sickness and in Wealth: America's Hospitals in the Twentieth Century.: Harvard University Press. Bradford H. (November 2009) For other uses. Cambridge. 1991.: Princeton University Press. Marc A. Starr. New York: Oxford University Press. Daniel M. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. New York: Oxford University Press. Wikipedia: Health care Top Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Wikipedia This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality.: Rutgers University Press. 1986. The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System. Rosen. Rosenberg. Hiatt. Severed Trust: Why American Medicine Hasn't Been Fixed. Stevens. 1999. 1987. 1989. Victor R. 1982. Gray. Mechanic.: Harvard University Press. N. New York: Basic Books. New Brunswick. 1875–1941. N. George D. and Morals: Physicians' Conflicts of Interest.J. Rodwin. Ludmerer.

Before the term health care became popular. and allied health professions. Health care embraces all the goods and services designed to promote health. curative and palliative interventions.[1] The definition of to recognize. difficult and expensive procedures in medicine.1 World Health Organization 3 Economics 4 Systems 5 Politics 6 Health care by country . The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a well-known international relief movement. is the treatment and management of illnesses of the elderly. -promoting or -maintaining behaviours. tough to define. English-speakers referred to medicine or to the health sector and spoke of the treatment and prevention of illness and disease. 2009</ref>. including “preventive. The public health is related most to economic development and wealth distribution. and the preservation of health through services offered by the medical. nursing. Contents [hide] • • • • • • 1 Health-care industry 2 Research ○ 2.Surgery one of the most invasive. health insurance (reimbursement of health care costs). The social and political issue of access to healthcare in the US has led to public debate and confusing use of terms such as health care (medical management of illness or disease). Health care (often healthcare in British English). clinical sciences (in vitro diagnostics). and the public health (the collective state and range of health in a population). complementary and alternative medicine. or in access to of medical healthcare in individual health-seeking. pharmaceutical. whether directed to individuals or to populations”. and health insurance is a business which both provides and restricts reimbursement for healthcare itself in the event of disease. dental." Albany Times-Union November 12.

nursing home. According to market classifications of industry such as the Global Industry Classification Standard and the Industry Classification Benchmark the health-care industry includes health care equipment & services and pharmaceuticals. and all other research that contributes to the development of new treatments. and other human health activities. biotechnology & life sciences. the International Standard Industrial Classification. chiropractice. or other para-medical practitioners in the field of optometry. nurses.[2][3] The health-care industry incorporates several sectors that are dedicated to providing services and products dedicated to improving the health of individuals. In terms of pharmaceutical R&D spending. in general simply known as medical research.• • • 7 See also 8 Notes 9 External links Health-care industry Main article: Health care industry The delivery of modern health care depends on an expanding group of trained professionals coming together as an interdisciplinary team. Medical research can be divided into two general categories: the evaluation of new treatments for both safety and efficacy in what are termed clinical trials. physiotherapists. British Medical Journal. List of medical journals.05bn in 2006) and there is less growth in European R&D spending.[6] . and back again. drug manufacturers. Medical and dental practice activities. Biomedical research (or experimental medicine). List of pharmaceutical sciences journals. The last class consists of all activities for human health not performed by hospitals or by medical doctors or dentists. [4] According to government classifications of Industry. is the basic research. speech therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine.50bn compared to €27. or under the supervision of. [5] Research See also: List of health care journals. diagnostic laboratories. drug delivery. diagnostic substances. health care generally consists of Hospital activities. providers of health care plans and home health care. homeopathy. or translational research conducted to aid the body of knowledge in the field of medicine. medical equipment and instruments. chiropody. etc. occupational therapy. A new paradigm to biomedical research is being termed translational research. which are mostly based on the United Nations system. ambulance. and Medical literature Top impact factor academic journals in the health care field include Health Affairs and Milbank Quarterly. music therapy. applied research. pathology clinics. The particular sectors associated with these groups are: biotechnology. List of bioinformatics journals. scientific or diagnostic laboratiories. midwives. medical massage. This involves activities of. hydrotherapy. Europe spends a little less that the United States (€22. and the Journal of the American Medical Association are more general journals. The latter is termed preclinical research if its goal is specifically to elaborate knowledge for the development of new therapeutic strategies. nursing homes. which focuses on iterative feedback loops between the basic and clinical research domains to accelerate knowledge translation from the bedside to the bench. acupuncture. hospitals.

health economists study the functioning of the health care system and the private and social causes of health-affecting behaviors such as smoking. and headquartered in Geneva. . Examples of its work include years of fighting smallpox. other UN organizations. 2006. foundations and NGOs. The WHO is nearing success in developing vaccines against malaria and schistosomiasis and aims to eradicate polio within the next few years. Switzerland. The WHO's constitution states that its mission "is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. In recent years the WHO's work has involved more collaboration. and the private sector (including pharmaceutical companies). drew conceptual distinctions between health and other goals. Voluntary contributions to the WHO from national and local governments. Externalities arise frequently when considering health and health care. asymmetric information. these imbalances lead to market failures resulting from asymmetric information. Broadly. The organization has already endorsed the world's first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe from October 3. Established on 7 April 1948. making it an international standard. Uncertainty is intrinsic to health.the first disease in history to be completely eliminated by deliberate human design. and to promote the general health of the peoples of the world. the Health Organization.[10] Economics Main article: Health economics Health economics is a branch of economics concerned with issues related to scarcity in the allocation of health and health care. accounting for the three quarters of the world’s biotechnology revenues and 80% of world R&D spending in biotechnology. In 1979 the WHO declared that the disease had been eradicated .[12] Governments tend to regulate the health care industry heavily and also tend to be the largest payer within the market. now exceed that of assessed contributions (dues) from its 193 member nations. which had been an agency of the League of Nations. The knowledge gap that exists between a physician and a patient can prevent the patient from accurately describing his symptoms or enable the physician to prescribe unnecessary but profitable services.[11] Factors that distinguish health economics from other areas include extensive government intervention.[9] The WHO is financed by contributions from member states and from donors. especially key infectious diseases. currently around 80 such partnerships. A seminal 1963 article by Kenneth Arrow." Its major task is to combat disease.[7] Pharmaceuticals and other medical devices are the leading high technology exports of Europe and the United States. the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor. [7][8] However. as well as with foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. with NGOs and the pharmaceutical industry. [6][7] World Health Organization Main article: World Health Organization See also: Global health The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized United Nations agency which acts as a coordinator and researcher for public health around the world. and externalities. the United States dominates the biopharmaceutical field. intractable uncertainty in several dimensions. often credited with giving rise to the health economics as a discipline. both in patient outcomes and financial concerns.

7%) being the top three. The scope of health economics is neatly encapsulated by Alan William's "plumbing diagram"[13] dividing the discipline into eight distinct topics: • • • • • • • • What influences health? (other than health care) What is health and what is its value The demand for health care The supply of health care Micro-economic evaluation at treatment level Market equilibrium Evaluation at whole system level. For example. respectively. Systems A group of Chilean 'Damas de Rojo'. and. and all other nations account for 30%. health care can form an enormous part of a country's economy.[7] United States accounts for the three quarters of the world’s biotechnology revenues. and 13%. affects people other than the decision maker.9%). Consuming just under 10 percent of gross domestic product of most developed nations. Japan. budgeting and monitoring mechanisms. 9%. Main article: Health care system See also: Preventive medicine and Social medicine . The United States and Canada account for 48% of world pharmaceutical sales. health care consumed 8. making an effort to avoid catching a cold. volunteers on their local hospital. and Germany (10. Planning. In 2001. or practising safer sex. while Europe.9%).notably in the context of infectious disease.4 per cent of GDP across the OECD countries[14] with the United States (13. Switzerland (10.

most of the nation's health care has moved from the second model operating with not-for-profit institutions to the third model operating with for-profit institutions. there is consumer-driven health. they have less short and mediumterm incentives than private agents to make purchases that can generate revenues and avoid bankruptcy. Massachusetts and Connecticut.[15] The United States currently operates under a mixed market health care system. A few states have taken serious steps toward universal health care coverage. with proposals currently underway to integrate these systems in various ways to provide a number of health care options. In contrast. Finally. This is argued[by whom?] to provide a greater incentive to find cost-saving health care approaches. the greater problems with this approach have been the gradual deregulation of HMOs resulting in fewer of the promised choices for consumers. health care expenditures.[16] Private sources account for the remainder of costs. concerns are more based on the rising cost of drugs to the governments. a term meant to describe a single agency managing a single system. and funding of these private systems is variable. and local) account for 45% of U. affordable health care to state residents. revolve around the use of private finance initiatives to build hospitals which it is argued costs taxpayers more in the long run. extent. The scale. with which the state of Massachusetts has experimented. and patients have more control of how they access care. in which systems. Current concerns in England. Health system reform in the United States usually focuses around three suggested systems. system is allowed to operate. Critics of consumer-driven health say that it would benefit the healthy but be insufficient for the chronically sick.[19] In Germany and France. most notably Minnesota. state or municipality with a government health care system a parallel private. much as the current system operates. In almost every country. the social model of health places emphasis on changes that can be made in society and in people's own lifestyles to make the population healthier. state. as found in most modernized countries as well as some states and municipalities within the United States. Opponents of government intervention into the market generally believe that such intervention distorts pricing as government agents would be operating outside of the corporate model and the principles of market discipline. It defines illness from the point of view of the individual's functioning within their society rather than by monitoring for changes in biological or physiological signs. with recent examples being the Massachusetts 2006 Health Reform Statute[17] and Connecticut's SustiNet plan to provide quality. with 38% of people receiving health coverage through their employers and 17% arising from other private payment such as private insurance and out-of-pocket co-pays. and this coverage and the services provided are regulated. This is sometimes referred to as two-tier health care. and the steady increase in consumer cost that has marginalized consumers and burdened states with excessive urgent health care costs that are avoided with consumers have adequate access to preventive health care. Government sources (federal. Over the past thirty years. The medical model of health focuses on the eradication of illness through diagnosis and effective treatment. an important political issue . Second are employer or individual insurance mandates.Social health insurance is where a nation's entire population is eligible for health care coverage. and usually for-profit.S. for instance. In Brazil. First is single payer. consumers. A traditional view is that improvements in health result from advancements in medical science.[18] Politics Main article: Health policy The politics of health care depends largely on which country one is in.

or other co-ordinated bodies to deliver planned health care services targeted to the populations they serve.org alleges that Obama's predicted savings were exaggerated. and costs associated with the US health care system. an early candidate who did not get on the ballot. whereas in others planning is made more centrally among governments. health care planning has often been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In some countries. or patents. Health care by country Health care systems are designed to meet the health care needs of target populations.) Factcheck. charities. came under pressure for its refusal to admit there is any connection with AIDS[20] because of the cost it would have involved. trade unions. . the state of Oregon and the city of San Francisco are both examples of governments that adopted universal healthcare systems for strictly fiscal reasons. [23] In contrast. supported a single-payer system. There are a wide variety of health care systems around the world. The South African government. President Barack Obama says he favors the creation of a universal health care system. Dennis Kucinich. State boards and the Department of Health regulate inpatient care to reduce the national health care deficit. To tackle the problems of the perpetually increasing number of uninsured. for the domestic manufacture of antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. religious. whose population sets the record for HIV infections. the health care system planning is distributed among market participants. New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman said that Obama's plan would not actually provide universal coverage.is the breach of intellectual property rights. However. [21] However. [22] (In contrast. In the United States 12% to 16% of the citizens are still unable to afford health insurance.

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