What Are Health Related Deficiencies?
By its very definition, health refers to “the condition of being able to withstand diseases, injuries, and normal conditions experienced by human beings.” It goes without saying that in a very broad sense, health covers a wide range of conditions that human beings may be subjected to. In fact, a healthy person can endure almost any condition that another person may be subjected to. For instance, it is not uncommon to have a healthy individual who is suffering from a heart condition, yet healthy individuals are also susceptible to having pains in their joints and muscles, or to being obese. Therefore, to say that a person is healthy in a given regard simply implies that he or she can continue to endure the conditions that other individuals may experience.
According to the World Health Organization, “health, as a state of complete well-being or total health, is the result of a person’s ability to manage and counteract with his or her physical, mental, and social environment from the effects of his or her physical, mental, and social environment, on the development of his health and well-being.” Various definitions have been applied to health, but no overall definition has emerged. This is because health has many dimensions and there are no two individuals alike. Thus, even if a person is perfectly healthy in one respect, he can still be deemed unhealthy in another. It is this wide and varied nature of health that has led to it being called the “essence” of the human body.
The “Defined Health Care” definition, which came from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is “A health system that provides coordinated treatment and care for people with chronic and acute medical conditions so that the public’s health can be significantly improved through prevention, detection, and treatment of illness.” The definition was developed to help give a better definition to the National Health Service Act of Medicaid and the related private health insurance programs. However, the definition does not exhaust itself. The term “coordinated treatment and care” also means that hospitals and other health care services work hand-in-hand with health management agencies and other entities to provide coordinated services. The “patient’s freedom of choice” is also taken into account in this definition, as is the patient’s control over his or her own health. Thus, a patient can choose whether he wants to receive counseling, obtain a referral to another doctor, go through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or be treated by a traditional health care team.
Another definition is that of the Joint Commission On Education In Health and Human Services (JCEHOHS). According to this definition, “a health system is characterized by coordinated care and payment at the levels of the family, the patient, and the health system,” where each “employs a multidisciplinary team” in order to provide a coordinated and comprehensive service. The concept is that of emphasizing quality of care while trying to minimize costs. The multidisciplinary team approach means that specialists within each discipline may actually come from different areas of medicine, thereby increasing the chances of a better result and, hopefully, fewer health complications or side effects.
There are numerous other definitions, some of which are more descriptive than precise. One definition, according to JCEHOHS, is “the use of information technology to improve public health by creating a system for the collection, evaluation, and sharing of data about health.” On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, “The term health is defined as a condition that can be maintained by human intervention and can be cured by such intervention.” The WHO goes on to note, “The key goals of public health are the prevention of disease, promotion of general health, maintenance of the community’s medical environment, and rescheduling of patients and procedures.”
Most textbooks define health promotion and control as the prevention of diseases. For instance, Bill Norton’s Basic Principles of Public Health write that “by preventing disease, we can preserve the strength and vitality of our social institutions, our economy, and our welfare,” and that “by controlling disease, we can improve the quality of life of all individuals.” Similarly, The Handbook of Public Health Education emphasizes the prevention of disease because of the importance of healthy environments for the prevention and treatment of disease: “epidemics threaten the fabric of society because of their adverse consequences on the health of those living in the community.” In essence, prevention and control become synonymous with the well being of society as a whole.