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healthcare concept drawing

Healthcare Definition and History

Healthcare is the maintenance and improvement of people's health, especially through the provision of medical services.  Doctors, or physicians, are healthcare professionals who maintain or restore people's health via the practice of medicine.  Doctors are trained to diagnose and treat diseases, ailments, injuries, and other health conditions.  Nurses are caring healthcare professionals who work to restore and maintain the health of people and their families and communities.  Hippocrates of Kos, a physician who lived in ancient Greece between 460 BC and 370 BC, is often called the father of western medicine.  Historically, many physicians have subscribed to the Hippocratic Oath, which is believed to have been written by Hippocrates or one of his students.  During the 19th century Crimean War, Florence Nightingale served as a nurse and pioneered the modern nursing movement.  In the modern era, health insurance has become an important element of the healthcare industry, in order to spread the high costs and risks associated with rare health conditions and diseases.
Early references to health and physicians are found in the Old Testament, in Proverbs chapter 16, verse 24, which reads, "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health for the bones", and in the New Testament, in Mark chapter 2, verse 17, which reads, "They that are strong have not need of a physician, but those who are ill".  More healthcare information is available on this Health Care Guide and Directory page.