Healthcare is an essential aspect of human life as it is vital for maintaining good health, preventing diseases and improving the quality of life. Healthcare services are divided into various types, depending on the patient’s condition and the level of care required. The three main types of healthcare are primary, secondary and tertiary care.
1. Primary Healthcare
Primary healthcare is the first point of contact for patients seeking medical attention. It is the initial level of care that focuses on the provision of local care to a patient. Primary healthcare professionals are usually generalists who deal with a broad range of psychological, physical and social problems. They are not specialists in any particular disease area.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has described five elements that are essential to achieve the ultimate goals of primary healthcare. These are stakeholder participation increased, integrating health into all sectors, organizing healthy services according to people’s needs and expectations, pursuing collaborative models of policy dialogue, and increasing public participation in decision-making processes.
Primary healthcare services are rapidly increasing in both developed and developing countries, especially with the increasing number of adults at greater risk of chronic noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, asthma, back pain, hypertension, anxiety, depression, etc.
2. Secondary Healthcare
Secondary healthcare is provided by medical specialists and other health professionals who do not have direct contact with a patient. These specialists include urologists, dermatologists, cardiologists, etc. According to the National Health System policy, a patient requires a primary care professional’s referral to proceed further for secondary care.
The systems that come under this category are known as the District Health system and County Health system. The District Health system mainly focuses on child health and maternity care. The population of this system is about 25,000 to 50,000 and includes various healthcare centers and district hospitals. Healthcare centers receive referrals from various primary health care and remain open 24 hours every day.
District hospitals include emergency services, neonatal care, comprehensive emergency obstetric, etc., and remain open 24 hours every day. The County Health system receives referrals from the District and community health systems. County hospitals provide gynecologic services, general medicine, obstetrics, general surgery, etc., and remain open 24 hours every day.
3. Tertiary Healthcare
Tertiary healthcare is known as specialized consultative healthcare, usually for inpatients and on referral from primary and secondary healthcare for advanced medical investigation and treatment. Tertiary care services are specialized services provided by medical specialists who are highly trained in their area of expertise.
Tertiary care services include plastic surgery, burn treatment, cardiac surgery, cancer management, neurosurgery, complex medical and surgical interventions, etc. These services are often provided in specialized hospitals and clinics that are equipped with advanced medical technologies and facilities.
Tertiary healthcare is typically provided to patients who have complex medical conditions that require specialized treatment and management. Patients may be referred to tertiary healthcare by primary or secondary healthcare professionals.
In conclusion, healthcare is a critical aspect of human life, and the type of care required depends on the patient’s condition. Primary healthcare is the first point of contact for patients seeking medical attention, secondary healthcare is provided by medical specialists who do not have direct contact with a patient, and tertiary healthcare is specialized consultative care for patients who require advanced medical investigation and treatment. It is essential to understand these different types of healthcare to receive the appropriate level of care required for an individual’s condition.
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The post originally published in 2017-Nov-26, rewrite 2023-Feb-21.