What do you prefer?…To be a patient… or a client?
The word patient originally meant ‘one who suffers’, who has the “patience” to suffer.
A patient is anyone who is ill or injured and in need of receiving medical attention, care, or treatment from a doctor or other medically educated person.
Wrongly, there is the habit of calling “patient” to anyone who visits a health facility, even if it is for a routine check-up or for a diver’s certificate… that should anyway guarantee he is in perfect health…
A healthycustomer that comes to a health facility should be called a client, as he is a user of services that are provided by a health supplier but he is not “suffering” so he is not a patient, as in the correct trade vocabulary a patient is a suffering person.
The relevant fact is that this suffering can be avoided or diminished if one chooses to be a client instead of waiting to turn into a patient…, which is not as pleasant.
Patients need treatment for their ailments. Clients want to try the best options to avoid the unexpected and the often controllable disruptions of a good healthy living.
Health versus disease
An important starting point to a correct understanding of what health promotion and disease prevention activities are is to fully comprehend what the terms “health” and “disease” mean. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading public health institution in the United States, defines disease as an interruption or disturbance of the bodily functions or organs that causes or threatens pain and weakness. Anything that negatively affects the physical functioning can be a disease. Most people would never try to get a disease but they do things on a daily basis to put them at risk for disease, such as smoking or not exercising.
Given the definition of disease, we might expect the definition of health to be the lack of disease in a person, but there is much more to consider when thinking about health. The World Health Organization (WHO), which leads global initiatives to improve health, defines health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease and illness. This definition encompasses people’s mental health, in addition to a lack of disease. It also suggests that to be productive and healthy members of our community, we must be able to feel strong and supported by others around us and that we have opportunities to live life as we wish.
Prevention and quality care
Humans have been struggling with disease for thousands of years, and the problem only became more pronounced when people began living in closely crowded areas. As cities grew, so did the diversity of disease.
The development of things like diagnostic screenings for early signs of major diseases has been a major part of disease prevention around the world.
Presently, in this quickly developing world, the prevention and diagnostic possibilities are amazing but, surprise, surprise, they are only being used by a few. No, the problem is not how much it costs it is a combination of lack of information, fatalism, and laziness!
Please do not waste the vast array of possibilities available as the feeling that you did your best to maximize your quality of life and the valuable results obtained, will be worth the effort. Many aspects of disease can be prevented and disease prevention is a better management practice than disease control. It is better for the individual and for the community, not only financially but also on what regards the very important aspects of quantity and quality of life.
The doctor-patient and doctor-client relationship is the basic foundation of contemporary medical ethics and generally for the practice of medicine, being essential for the delivery of high-quality health care in the diagnosis and treatment of disease as well as in disease prevention and health promotion.
Disease prevention, involves efforts to stop the onset of a specific illness or condition.
Health promotion on the other hand concerns helping people to increase control and improvement of their health condition.
Together, health promotion and disease prevention efforts can improve and maintain the health of people in the community.
Physicians need the cooperation of everyone they assist in order to achieve what should be their common purpose:
To treat fewer patients through illness
To help more clients maintain and improve their health
Best health wishes,
Consultant in General and Family Medicine
Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve