Health care is the care or development of total health through the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure of illness, disease, injury, or other mental and physical impairments in humans. Health care is delivered either by healthcare professionals and related disciplines such as nursing, hospital staff, and physician assistants. The scope of health care delivery has increased dramatically in recent years with the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid programs. As a result, the focus of health care delivery has shifted from hospital to doctor to clinic to medical practice to pharmacy.
A doctor’s office is typically the point of contact for a patient when it comes to medical care and services. However, there are a variety of other health care facilities and activities that can provide comprehensive primary care. For instance, there are community health centers, specialty centers, and even prepaid clinics that can provide comprehensive primary health care to their patients. When a patient receives care at one of these facilities, they will have access to a wide range of specialists including doctors, nurses, dentists, and specialists.
There is also a growing trend for turning health care into a service provided by medical practitioners. This is especially true in the case of mental health care. Many individuals in the United States do not have access to doctors when it comes to mental health issues and instead turn to family or friends or self-medical care practitioners. For this reason, medical professionals are turning to community organizations, insurance companies, and schools to develop and deliver customized health care programs to local communities. These programs allow patients to utilize comprehensive primary care without having to leave the comfort of their home.
In addition to turning to primary care professionals for advice, many patients are electing to work closely with a registered nurse, or APRN, within the health care team. The APRN is usually responsible for developing the patient’s treatment plan and managing the patient’s medications. Although this job description seems simplistic, a registered nurse often coordinates the efforts of both a primary care practitioner and APRN, working closely to improve the patient’s quality of life. If this sounds like a position that would be ideal for you, consider taking an RN license after completing a two-year associate degree at an accredited nursing program.
On the other side of the coin, there is also a decreasing trend for people turning to the traditional physician-patient relationship in an effort to save money. Instead, more people are electing to set up private medical accounts. Unlike a primary care physician, a private medical account does not require any hospital hours, medical school education, or licensing. Patients who elect to open a private medical account usually take out a policy in which they pay a monthly premium toward a health savings account (HSA). Once this is set up, the individual will be able to draw down the HSA just as they would a credit card, accumulating money to use when the individual needs it.
When you consider how well-trained and experienced health care professionals are losing their jobs, it becomes clear that less people are turning to the emergency room as their primary method of seeking medical help. Even if fewer people are calling an emergency room, more people are suffering from severe injuries and illnesses due to lack of access to quality health care. It is important that those who remain in the professional pool make sure they have the tools and time they need to provide quality care to the next generation of Americans.