A Definition of Health Systems


Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. A society that does not have healthy people will suffer greatly in so many ways, such as economic disadvantage, low literacy, higher rates, less productive labor, and a lack of social participation. Health is an essential part of life, with its attendant costs. Health care costs are growing at an alarming rate.

Many people in the U.S. take their health for granted. They do not think that they need to address health or that some basic steps can address healthful lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, the neglect of health and fitness has led to ill-health and disease. People need to understand that being healthy means that the body functions properly and that these functions are maintained by a balance of diet, exercise, and stress management. Illness and disease can be prevented or controlled, but this requires an awareness of the definition of health.

The definition of “good health” is relative, dependent upon the person, and requires personal change as well as external intervention. Good health is dependent upon the total quality of life achieved through a balanced life: good health is the absence of death, indigestion, pain, and other disease conditions; good health is the absence of environmental factors that contribute to poor health (e.g., poverty, emotional stress, lack of exercise, etc. ); and good health are the absence of death and the risks of death associated with these conditions (e.g., heart disease, cancer). Good health is relative to specific criteria (i.e., a life free from major illness and death). These criteria are themselves ecological in nature and consequently shaped by individual lifestyle choices. Indicators of good health include: a sense of general well-being and control over health conditions; ability to participate productively in community life and work; and avoidance of stress (which may result in depression and substance abuse).

The third definition, the quality or state of health, is subjective. The definition indicates that it is based on an assessment of the person’s bodily and emotional functioning. Although the third definition reflects a standard definition, mental health is influenced by various sources such as cultural norms, beliefs, and practices, and individual experiences. Some of these sources are not considered when assessing or defining good health.

Mental health systems refer to those systems that treat people on an individual’s level with emphasis on prevention, detection, and treatment of disease and disorders. The field is made up of four domains: clinical diagnosing, research, service, and care. In clinical diagnosing, doctors look for agreement between diagnosis and treatment, irrespective of whether symptoms are self-limited or predominant. In research and service, the focus is on providing information and services to communities and families, and prevention is intended to reduce the chances of disease. Care is aimed at improving the quality of life of those who are affected and preventing disability and impairment.

An accountable care provider requires five elements: assurance, assessment, improvement, collection, and reimbursement. The first three are most often included in the overall definition, but the last two are not. Assurance refers to the ability to provide quality health care services. Improvement is measured using specific benchmarks such as quality indicators and statistical reporting. Collection is used to obtain data necessary to ensure that the system is effective and the most appropriate use of resources.

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