Health is a relative condition. Is an individual or population healthy? The answer depends on both the definition of health being applied by those undertaking an assessment and how health is understood by the people themselves. Health care is more tangible—a set of resources that are understood as having a particular relationship with health. The health care industry is the term often applied to the organization of these resources and their expression in terms of goods and services. Through the seeking of health care and commodities associated with advancing health, the users of medical services in Western capitalist countries have increasingly been regarded by policymakers as consumers. Whereas the term patient implies a relationship with a health care professional, the term consumer has more complex ...

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