On this section of the website we would like to give you some more information and impressions on the current state of healthcare in our modern day and age. Even though healthcare is very different in the countless cultures across the globe and the system that is used may differ from country to country, there are some underlying similarities within all these different outtakes on the field of healthcare. We’ll start of with asking a seemingly simple but at the same time complex question:
What is healthcare?
For starters, healthcare can be seen as the preservation of both physical and mental health by treatment and/or prevention of illnesses through the services offered by professionals working in any field of healthcare. Next to this, healthcare is also considered to be one of the most important human rights within international human rights law.
In general we can divide healthcare into three different categories, namely primary care, secondary care and tertiary care.
The first and foremost form of healthcare is the so called primary care. It refers to the work of healthcare professionals that first come into contact with patients of any kind. Let’s say your child catches a cold and needs to see a doctor or physician. Most likely you will lay contact with an assistant or nurse, then you will be referred to the actual doctor and/or physician and afterwards a medicine will be prescribed to your child by a pharmacist.
The ones who provide primary healthcare in this case are the physician and/or doctor (and of course their assistants). Other examples of primary healthcare professionals are ambulance personnel, nurses and clinical officers.
Secondary care embodies the services provided by medical specialists and other professionals who generally do not have direct contact with the patients themselves. Examples of secondary care professionals would be cardiologists, urologists and dermatologists. Secondary care often involves a treatment for a short period of time but necessary for a rather serious injury, illness or health condition.
Tertiary care is the last category and usually involves highly specialized professionals and is often meant for patient that where redirected from either primary or secondary care. This last category within the overall healthcare system is often regarded as the most ‘serious’ one in the sense that it usually involves patients who suffer from a chronic or incurable disease. Examples of tertiary care services would be neurosurgery, cancer management or plastic surgery.
Facts & Figures
We believe in the importance of healthcare. Each and every human being on this planet should have the right the be taken care of by professionals when they are injured and/or ill. However, unfortunately we have a long way to go before the healthcare system in many countries will provide service at this Utopian level. Whilst there are many countries, mostly across Europe, that offer free healthcare for their people (Netherlands, U.K., but also Japan) there are still many countries where healthcare is considered a luxury.
One of the most infamous examples would be the United States of America. The recent discussions about the US healthcare system and the so called Obama Care have shown us that there is still a lot to do before we can provide top level healthcare even within our western society. Below you can find some interesting facts and figures concerning healthcare systems.
- According to a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine nearly $765,000,000,000 (or 30% of all US healthcare costs) are ‘wasted’ due to things like fraud, unnecessary costs and inefficient services.
- In 2008 nearly 20% of the whole US economy was spent on healthcare services across the country
- A combined profit of nearly 12.2 billion US dollars was gained by five of the biggest health insurance companies of the United States back in 2009. It is believed that this number has risen another 5% during the last couple of years.
- Average cost per day of a regular hospital visit in several different countries across the globe