Definitions of supply of public health service as compared to definitions of supply of medical care

Supply of Public Health Services

The supply of public health services refers to the availability, distribution, and provision of healthcare interventions, programs, and initiatives that aim to improve the overall health and well-being of a population. These services focus on preventing diseases, promoting healthy behaviors, and addressing health disparities within communities. Public health services encompass a wide range of activities, such as health education, disease surveillance, vaccination campaigns, sanitation programs, and community outreach.

⇒ Health Economics Notes for BPH Students

The supply of public health services aims to enhance the health of entire populations, with an emphasis on prevention and population-level interventions.

According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), the supply of public health services refers to “the availability and delivery of population-based health interventions, programs, and services to address the health needs of communities and populations. These services are designed to prevent disease and promote health at the community level through strategies that include health education, policy development, surveillance, and environmental interventions.


Key Aspects of Supply of Public Health Services:

  1. Preventive Focus: Public health services prioritize preventive measures such as health education, immunizations, screenings, and promoting healthy behaviors to prevent diseases and improve population health.
  2. Population-Level Impact: The supply of public health services aims to benefit entire populations and communities, addressing health disparities and promoting equity in healthcare access.
  3. Community-Based Interventions: Public health services often involve community engagement, outreach, and partnerships to design and implement interventions that address specific health needs and challenges within local contexts.
  4. Epidemiological Approach: Public health services rely on data analysis and epidemiological studies to identify health trends, risks, and opportunities for interventions at a population level.
  5. Health Promotion and Education: These services prioritize health literacy and education to empower individuals and communities with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their health.
  6. Policy and Advocacy: Public health services may involve advocating for policies and regulations that promote health, safety, and well-being at the societal level.

Supply of Medical Care

The supply of medical care pertains to the availability and delivery of individualized healthcare services to diagnose, treat, and manage health conditions for specific patients. These services are typically provided by healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and specialists, within clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Medical care focuses on addressing the immediate health needs of individuals, including diagnosing illnesses, providing treatments, performing surgeries, and offering medical consultations.

The supply of medical care is centered on providing personalized care and treatment to patients on a one-on-one basis.

Dr. James F. Fries, a prominent healthcare researcher, defines the supply of medical care as “the activities of medical professionals and institutions primarily aimed at restoring and maintaining health through the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medical care is provided on an individual basis and encompasses a range of services, from medical consultations and surgeries to prescription medications and therapies.

Key Aspects of Supply of Medical Care:

  1. Diagnostic and Treatment Focus: Medical care is centered on diagnosing and treating individual patients’ health conditions, injuries, and illnesses to provide immediate relief and promote recovery.
  2. Individualized Care: Healthcare professionals offer personalized care, treatments, and interventions tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of each patient.
  3. Clinical Settings: The supply of medical care is primarily delivered in clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and specialized medical facilities.
  4. Healthcare Professionals: Medical care involves a range of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, surgeons, specialists, and allied health professionals.
  5. Medical Technology and Procedures: Advanced medical technology, equipment, and procedures are utilized to diagnose, treat, and manage various health conditions.
  6. Patient-Centered Approach: Medical care places the patient at the center, emphasizing effective communication, shared decision-making, and patient engagement in their own care.
  7. Acute and Chronic Care: Medical care addresses acute health issues requiring immediate attention, as well as chronic conditions requiring ongoing management and follow-up.

Comparison between supply of public health service and supply of medical care

While both the supply of public health services and the supply of medical care contribute to overall population health, they have distinct focuses and approaches. Public health services emphasize preventive measures and interventions that benefit entire communities, aiming to improve the health status of populations as a whole. Medical care, on the other hand, focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing individual patients’ health conditions and medical needs.

The supply of public health services aims for broad-reaching impact and long-term health improvements, while the supply of medical care is centered on immediate patient care and treatment. Both aspects are integral to a comprehensive healthcare system that addresses both individual health needs and broader public health goals.

The table below provides a concise comparison of key aspects between the supply of public health services and the supply of medical care, highlighting their differences in focus, target audience, goals, interventions, engagement, data utilization, policy, healthcare professionals involved, settings, scope, and impact.

Aspect Supply of Public Health Services Supply of Medical Care
Focus Prevention, health promotion, population health Diagnosis, treatment, individual care
Target Audience Entire populations, communities Individual patients
Primary Goal Improve overall population health Provide immediate patient care
Interventions Health education, immunizations, screenings Diagnosis, medical procedures, treatments
Community Engagement High involvement through outreach and partnerships Centered on clinical settings
Data Utilization Epidemiological studies, health trends analysis Individual patient medical history
Policy and Advocacy Advocacy for health policies and regulations Focus on patient-centered care
Healthcare Professionals Involved Public health professionals, educators Physicians, nurses, specialists, allied health professionals
Settings Varied community settings, public health agencies Hospitals, clinics, private practices
Scope Prevention of diseases and health disparities Treatment of illnesses, injuries, conditions
Long-Term Impact Population-level health improvement Individual patient health outcomes

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