The Difference Between Healthcare and Sickcare
Reactive versus proactive care
Healthcare is the key term used to define the medical care and services used to treat individuals in a community, (for example, the “healthcare system”) the one-word term is often misinterpreted as health care (two words), which describes the measures taken to focus on, protect, or improve an individual’s overall health. As such, they can be considered singular (health care) and plural (healthcare).
Sometimes, “healthcare” or “health care” are used in place of the term “sick care” or “sickcare,” which is more accurate depending on the context.
The U.S. consistently spends more on healthcare than any other country and is among the least healthy of nations. Traditional healthcare in the U.S. focuses on treating a person only after they’ve become sick or injured earning the name sick care.
With a system that focuses primarily on the sick, what change could be made if we focused on keeping the healthy, healthy?
Ideal healthcare would look at the direct, underlying cause rather than just the symptom, as well as focusing on keeping the healthy population healthy. On top of that, health care should focus on all areas of your life including your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This is known as a prevention model because it aims to include efforts to interfere with the disease process, pinpoint potential problems, and prevent issues before they become serious problems.
In practice, sick care focuses on stopping you from getting worse and making you feel better rather than necessarily correcting the cause of the problem.
By focusing on only one or two aspects of overall health care, sick care is not a proactive practice as it rarely moves you back towards health and prevent the problem from occurring again.
To establish and maintain good overall health, we can take many proactive – or preventative – steps such as exercise, a healthy diet, and reducing or eliminating the consumption of harmful substances.
With Direct Primary Care (DPC), our providers take time to get to know our members and seek to understand the direct, underlying cause of their health concerns rather than just the symptom. Through DPC we practice health care that focuses on all areas of your life including your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
A focus on prevention does not imply that there will be no disease or symptoms, but it does embrace the idea of extending each individual’s disease-free lifespan and working alongside our members to advocate and promote their health.