To gain understanding of the patterns of basic service components, the systematic organization may be identified and the boundaries of the system better understood. By gaining this understanding, each system may be evaluated and improved to better meet the needs of the various demographics for which it serves.
Basic Service Components
The basic service components in a complete health care system include any personal medical care services: including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation (Library Index, 2009). These service components include the for-profit and not-for-profit organizations that finance and deliver services. A complete health care system includes medical, dental, vision, and pharmaceutical services.
Preventative services include health promotion and disease prevention services (Williams & Torrens, 2008). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Strategy and Innovation (2009), the primary goal is to increase the number of healthy people at all stages of life through healthy life choices, disease prevention and injury/violence prevention. These services may be provided through routine health services, public health education, or other external resources.
Diagnostic services may be part of routine provider contact, or may be resultant from an acute injury or illness. Diagnostics may include emergency services, including ambulance and first responder services. Technology is a key component in the current health care era that allows for easier diagnosis through the use of various radiological and laboratory sciences.
Treatment services include medical interventions, and may include short-term or long-term ambulatory, inpatient, or related services for physical and mental health conditions (Williams & Torrens, 2008). Pharmaceutical services may be included in both prevention and treatment of conditions, acute and chronic illnesses, and acute trauma. Treatment components may encompass inpatient care for simple or complex conditions, long-term or hospice care in either in-home or institutional environments, or inpatient or outpatient social/psychological conditions (Williams & Torrens, 2008).
Rehabilitation services include both inpatient and outpatient services following illness or injury.
These are the basic service components because they include the continuum of care necessary for total health treatment and prevention. If one of these elements is missing or unavailable due to interfering or limiting factors, an individual’s health may be compromised. Without access to prevention, diagnostic services, treatment options (both short and long term), and rehabilitation services, an individual may not be able to obtain or maintain a viable level of health. Chronic illness or under treatment may result in decreased contribution to individual and societal needs, thereby recreating and reinforcing the inability to access proper treatment.
While these are all components of a complete health care system, it is often the case that not every individual will have access to all the basic components. In some limited settings, the entire health care system is developed internally and individuals are directed between services with smooth transitions and effective referrals. In most cases, however, individuals are responsible for coordinating and communicating between various levels of services; their physician, pharmacist and dentist are connected only through the individual. In other cases, due to limited community or personal resources, individuals may be unable to find all elements of the basic health care service components and will resort to familial resources for treatment and care options. By carefully analyzing the basic service components as well as their utilization, we may gain valuable information as to the operations of the health care system.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2009). CDC – office of strategy and innovation – goals. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from: http://www.cdc.gov/osi/goals/people/infants.html
Library Index. (2009). The nation’s health care system – the components of the health care system. Retrieved 12 October 2009 from: http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/1817/Nation-s-Health-Care-System-COMPONENTS-HEALTH-CARE-SYSTEM.html
Williams, S. & Torrens, P. (2008). Introduction to health services (7th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.