Health services are the medical and social activities that support people’s health, well-being and quality of life. They are delivered in the context of a community and range from primary care to hospitalization. They include medical, dental, psychiatric and other health facilities. They also include community outreach programs that provide education and help residents access resources such as food, housing and transportation. Health services research is a multidisciplinary field that studies the use, cost, quality, delivery and outcomes of health services.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry includes the following sectors:
In addition to hospitals and clinics, community health centers are a vital part of many healthcare systems. These government-funded clinics provide an array of healthcare options to patients with limited resources in towns and cities across the nation. They often target groups with a history of poor health, including low-income patients, rural residents and those who speak little English. They are a major part of the nationwide network that provides healthcare to more than 28 million people.
Some clinics are dedicated to specific diseases or conditions, such as mental health and substance abuse. Others focus on prevention, screenings and treatment. Regardless of their focus, these organizations are working to improve access to care and reduce the burden on larger healthcare systems. This is particularly important since there is a direct correlation between the amount of money that a country spends on its healthcare system and its average life expectancy.
Providing access to healthcare is a complex endeavor, as it is impacted by social and economic factors as well as individual needs. For example, a patient’s ability to use healthcare may be impeded by their financial limitations, physical restrictions or sociocultural expectations. The quality of the available healthcare may also be impacted by the level of medical knowledge, skill and expertise amongst health professionals.
The health sector also encompasses the activities of laboratories and other organizations that produce and supply healthcare products and equipment. It also includes the work performed by those who operate and maintain these products and equipment. The healthcare industry is also responsible for the design and manufacture of drugs and vaccines. It is an important aspect of the global economy, as it accounts for approximately 10% of world GDP and employs a large number of people worldwide.
Having access to healthcare is crucial for an individual’s overall well-being. Without this, illnesses can go untreated or undiagnosed, resulting in complications and possibly even death. While many factors can influence a person’s access to healthcare, the key is having skilled health workers who provide accessible, affordable and quality people-centered care. This is only possible with a good health service system that is rooted in the community it serves. The best way to ensure this is to invest in universal health coverage. This is the only way to achieve true health for all.