health care system

GC: n

S: WHO – (last access: 26 April 2013); WHO – (last access: 4 September 2014).

N: 1. – health (n): Old English hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (source also of Old English hal “hale, whole;” Old Norse heill “healthy;” Old English halig, Old Norse helge “holy, sacred;” Old English hælan “to heal”). With Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho. Of physical health in Middle English, but also “prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety.” An abstract noun to whole, not to heal. Meaning “a salutation” (in a toast, etc.) wishing one welfare or prosperity is from 1590s. Health food is from 1848.
– care (n): Old English caru, cearu “sorrow, anxiety, grief,” also “burdens of mind; serious mental attention,” in late Old English also “concern, anxiety caused by apprehension of evil or the weight of many burdens,” from Proto-Germanic *karo “lament; grief, care” (source also of Old Saxon kara “sorrow;” Old High German chara “wail, lament;” Gothic kara “sorrow, trouble, care;” German Karfreitag “Good Friday;”. Meaning “charge, oversight, attention or heed with a view to safety or protection” is attested from c. 1400; this is the sense in care of in addressing (1840). Meaning “object or matter of concern” is from 1580s. To take care of “take in hand, do” is from 1580s; take care “be careful” also is from 1580s.
– system (n): 1610s, “the whole creation, the universe,” from Late Latin systema “an arrangement, system,” from Greek systema “organized whole, a whole compounded of parts,” from stem of synistanai “to place together, organize, form in order,” from syn- “together” + root of histanai “cause to stand,” from PIE root *sta- “to stand, make or be firm.”
Meaning “set of correlated principles, facts, ideas, etc.” first recorded 1630s. Meaning “animal body as an organized whole, sum of the vital processes in an organism” is recorded from 1680s; hence figurative phrase to get (something) out of one’s system (1900). Computer sense of “group of related programs” is recorded from 1963. All systems go (1962) is from U.S. space program. The system “prevailing social order” is from 1806.
2. An organized plan of health services. The term usually is used to refer to the system or program by which health care is made available to the population and financed by government, private enterprise, or both. In a larger sense, the elements of a health care system embrace the following: (1) personal health care services for individuals and families, available at hospitals, clinics, neighborhood centers, and similar agencies, in physicians’ offices, and in the clients’ own homes; (2) the public health services needed to maintain a healthy environment, such as control of water and food supplies, regulation of drugs, and safety regulations intended to protect a given population; (3) teaching and research activities related to the prevention, detection, and treatment of disease; and (4) third party (health insurance) coverage of system services.
In the United States, the spectrum of health care has been defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as encompassing six levels of health care. The first level of care is preventive care, which is primarily provided by school health education courses and community and public health services.
Primary care is the usual point at which an individual enters the health care system. Its major task is the early detection and prevention of disease and the maintenance of health. This level of care also encompasses the routine care of individuals with common health problems and chronic illnesses that can be managed in the home or through periodic visits to an outpatient facility. Providers of care at the primary level include family members as well as the professionals and paraprofessionals who staff community and neighborhood health centers, hospital outpatient departments, physicians’ offices, industrial health units, and school and college health units.
Secondary or acute care is concerned with emergency treatment and critical care involving intense and elaborate measures for the diagnosis and treatment of a specified range of illness or pathology. Entry into the system at this level is either by direct admission to a health care facility or by referral. Provider groups for secondary care include both acute- and long-term care hospitals and their staffs.
Tertiary care includes highly technical services for the treatment of individuals and families with complex or complicated health needs. Providers of tertiary care are health professionals who are specialists in a particular clinical area and are competent to work in such specialty agencies as psychiatric hospitals and clinics, chronic disease centers, and the highly specialized units of general hospitals; for example, a coronary care unit. Entry into the health care system at this level is gained by referral from either the primary or secondary level.

S: 1. OED –;; (last access: 16 January 2018). 2. (last access: 25 September 2015).

GV: health-care system, healthcare system.

S: OED – (last access: 19 January 2018); (last access: 19 January 2018).

SYN: health system

S: IATE (last access: 25 September 2015)

CR: health services, .