Medicine is the art and science of healing. Medicine encompasses a range of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Premiercallcentre.co.uk connects consumers with medicine knowledge for purchaser’s needs and the specific nature of the services that the seller provides. See how we can help.
Contemporary medicine applies health science, biomedical research, and medical technology to diagnose and treat injury and disease, typically through medication, surgery, or some other form of therapy. The word medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing.
Though medical technology and clinical expertise are pivotal to contemporary medicine, successful face-to-face relief of actual suffering continues to require the application of ordinary human feeling and compassion, known in English as bedside manner.
Prehistoric medicine incorporated plants (herbalism), animal parts and minerals. In many cases these materials were used ritually as magical substances by priests, shamans, or medicine men. Well-known spiritual systems include animism (the notion of inanimate objects having spirits), spiritualism (an appeal to gods or communion with ancestor spirits); shamanism (the vesting of an individual with mystic powers); and divination (magically obtaining the truth). The field of medical anthropology studies the various prehistoric medical systems and their interaction with society.
Early records on medicine have been discovered from early Ayurvedic medicine in the Indian subcontinent, ancient Egyptian medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and ancient Greek medicine. Early Greek doctor Hippocrates, who is called the Father of Medicine, and Galen laid a foundation for later developments in a rational approach to medicine.
As science and technology developed, medicine became more reliant upon medications. Pharmacology developed from herbalism and many drugs are still derived from plants (atropine, ephedrine, warfarin, aspirin, digoxin, vinca alkaloids, taxol, hyoscine, etc).
Contemporary medicine is in general conducted within health care systems. Legal, credentialing and financing frameworks are established by individual governments, augmented on occasion by international organizations. The characteristics of any given health care system have significant impact on the way medical care is provided.
Advanced industrial countries (with the exception of the United States) and many developing countries provide medical services though a system of universal health care which aims to guarantee care for all through a single-payer health care system, or compulsory private or co-operative health insurance. This is intended to ensure that the entire population has access to medical care on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. Delivery may be via private medical practices or by state-owned hospitals and clinics, or by charities; most commonly by a combination of all three.
Most tribal societies, but also some communist countries (e.g. China) and the United States, provide no guarantee of health care for the population as a whole. In such societies, health care is available to those that can afford to pay for it or have self insured it (either directly or as part of an employment contract) or who may be covered by care financed by the government or tribe directly.
Transparency of information is another factor defining a delivery system. Access to information on conditions, treatments, quality and pricing greatly affects the choice by patients / consumers and therefore the incentives of medical professionals. While the US health care system has come under fire for lack of openness, new legislation may encourage greater openness. There is a perceived tension between the need for transparency on the one hand and such issues as patient confidentiality and the possible exploitation of information for commercial gain on the other.
Provision of medical care is classified into primary, secondary and tertiary care categories.
Primary care medical services are provided by physicians, physician assistants, or other health professionals who have first contact with a patient seeking medical treatment or care. These occur in physician offices, clinics, nursing homes, schools, home visits and other places close to patients. About 90% of medical visits can be treated by the primary care provider. These include treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, preventive care and health education for all ages and both sexes.
Secondary care medical services are provided by medical specialists in their offices or clinics or at local community hospitals for a patient referred by a primary care provider who first diagnosed or treated the patient. Referrals are made for those patients who required the expertise or procedures performed by specialists. These include both ambulatory care and inpatient services, emergency rooms, intensive care medicine, surgery services, physical therapy, labor and delivery, endoscopy units, diagnostic laboratory and medical imaging services, hospice centres, etc. Some primary care providers may also take care of hospitalized patients and deliver babies in a secondary care setting.
Tertiary care medical services are provided by specialist hospitals or regional centres equipped with diagnostic and treatment facilities not generally available at local hospitals. These include trauma centres, burn treatment centres, advanced neonatology unit services, organ transplants, high-risk pregnancy, radiation oncology, etc.
Modern medical care also depends on information - still delivered in many health care settings on paper records, but increasingly nowadays by electronic means.
Working together as an interdisciplinary team, many highly-trained health professionals besides medical practitioners are involved in the delivery of modern health care. Examples include: nurses, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, laboratory scientists, (pharmacy, pharmacists), (physiotherapy,physiotherapists), respiratory therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, radiographers, dietitians and bioengineers.
The scope and sciences underpinning human medicine overlap many other fields. Dentistry, while a separate discipline from medicine, is considered a medical field.
A patient admitted to hospital is usually under the care of a specific team based on their main presenting problem, e.g. the Cardiology team, who then may interact with other specialties, e.g. surgical, radiology, to help diagnose or treat the main problem or any subsequent complications / developments.
Physicians have many specializations and subspecializations into certain branches of medicine, which are listed below. There are variations from country to country regarding which specialties certain subspecialties are in.
The main branches of medicine used are:
- Basic sciences of medicine; this is what every physician is educated in, and some return to in biomedical research.
- Medical specialties
- interdisciplinary fields, where different medical specialties are mixed to function in certain occasions.
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