There are many divisions within the healthcare system in the United States.
This lesson will discuss some overlooked but extremely important sectors of the healthcare industry.
Healthcare System Divisions
When we think of healthcare in the United States, we typically think of hospitals and physician offices. However, there are a lot more components that go into a comprehensive health system than those two parts. Today, we’re going to discuss some facets of the healthcare system that we don’t typically focus on. Facets such as the pharmaceutical industry, long-term care facilities, mental healthcare, integrative medicine, and safety net services are all extremely important parts of healthcare that warrant a closer examination.
The Pharmaceutical Industry
Pharmaceuticals refer to anything relating to drugs or medication.
This may seem like a broad category, but that’s because it’s actually a very broad industry. Not only does the pharmaceutical industry include pharmacy stores that dispense prescription medication to people, it also includes a whole area of research that contributes to medicine. The pharmaceutical industry conducts countless research studies to try to find medications that treat diseases or prevent them from occurring. Many people think of medical research when it comes to discovering new ways of healing. What’s not typically noted is the amount of pharmaceutical research that goes into discovering cures, treatments, and preventative drugs.
The Long-Term Care Industry
Another industry that gets very little attention in healthcare is the long-term industry.
Long-term care includes a wide array of services that support personal care needs, such as the activities of daily living. As a result of diseases or age-related issues, sometimes people need assistance in retaining their independence. They can’t always continue to attend to their own personal care needs, or they might need just a slight amount of help. Long-term care facilities function as an additional support structure that gives patients the extra help they need.
Long-term care facilities differ from hospitals in that many times, the long-term care facility becomes home to those who need their services. This is a special, unique type of care area because not only do staff need to provide nursing care, but they also must balance this with providing a social support network. To many residents of long-term care facilities, they become their new circle of family and friends. A unique perspective of care is involved when dealing with the long-term care sector of healthcare.
The Mental Healthcare Industry
Mental well-being is a huge part of being a healthy individual. When we think of receiving healthcare, we typically think of our primary physicians who take care of our physical ailments. Mental healthcare is a grossly under-recognized segment of the healthcare industry. Statistics are astonishing in that one in every five American adults have a mental health condition, and an overwhelming percentage of the people who are dealing with mental health conditions don’t get treatment for them.Mental healthcare can come in different forms. It can be provided through psychology and psychiatry offices, inpatient behavioral health hospitals, outpatient therapy treatments, medication prescriptions, and more.
The mental health industry is frequently under-funded, under-utilized, and retains a certain stigma. It’s important for other sectors of the healthcare industry to be knowledgeable and willing to refer patients to mental health professionals when they recognize signs of potential mental disorders.
Integrative Medicine Industry
Integrative medicine is defined as the process of combining mainstream medical treatments with alternative treatments that have been supported by science as being safe and effective. Many people view medicine as typical Western treatments and drugs and alternative forms of care as quackery or witch-doctoring that has no place in healthcare. However, people don’t understand that conventional medicine and alternate therapies can be performed in conjunction with each other to deliver holistic care to patients. Integrative medicine practitioners provide combinations of therapies that have been tested by science and shown to have value in promoting health and wellness.
The integrative medicine industry is a sector of healthcare that views health as a combined wellness of the body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle.
Safety Net Services Industry
Lastly, we have safety net services, which are health programs that provide insured care to those who are low-income and uninsured. Safety net services must rely heavily on government subsidies to sustain their ability to offset any costs that they incur. The safety net services industry is an important sector that is often taken for granted in the overall healthcare industry. Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there are many who continue to go uninsured. Safety net resources specialize in caring for those individuals.
So we’ve talked about many of the overlooked or misunderstood parts of the healthcare system. Those parts include the pharmaceuticals industry, which provides patients with medications and research into new medications; the long-term care industry, which provide support in daily living; the mental healthcare industry, which treats those with mental and behavioral conditions; the integrative medicine industry, which treats patients holistically; and the safety net services industry, which provides care for those who are uninsured. Each of these sectors are integral parts of the larger healthcare industry.