Health care is a broad term that refers to a wide range of activities and services that promote and maintain individual, community and population health.

Using the correct term can help to avoid confusion and miscommunication in the healthcare industry. In addition, it can also have legal implications in certain contexts.


Health care is the efforts to maintain or restore physical, mental, and/or emotional well-being by trained and licensed professionals.

However, there is a great deal of confusion over the exact definition of this term. The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that health care is “the efforts made by trained and licensed professionals to maintain or restore physical, mental, and/or mental well-being.”

A healthcare system is a set of activities, institutions, or organizations dedicated to providing medical services. It can also include the individuals or groups that deliver these services.

There are many models for delivering and funding healthcare. Some of the most common are:


A hyphen divides the syllables of a word, marking a written separation. It is most often used to separate words that end in syllables, such as “care” and “relieve,” but it can be used to separate words of any length.

Hyphenation is sometimes necessary when compound modifiers (also called phrasal adjectives) precede nouns to clarify their meaning. However, a hyphen is optional and might not be every writer’s choice.

Generally, hyphenate when the last letter in the root word is the same as the first letter in the suffix. Exceptions: -style, -elect, -free, -based.

Capitalize words in proper names that refer to institutions, including the U.S. State of Arkansas and foreign countries. Retain capitalization when a name flip-flops or the word of is dropped: The UAMS Department of Patient Care Services and the Construction and Contract Management Department collaborated on the project.

Also capitalize highways identified by number, such as U.S. Route 1, Interstate Highway 34 and Interstate 495. For second reference only, use I-495.

Compound adjectives

Compound adjectives are words that use two or more independent words to modify a noun. They often appear in compound nouns and verbs, but are also used to describe more complex ideas.

The main reason compound adjectives are hyphenated is to make them clearer and more descriptive. Hyphens are usually placed before the words that form a compound adjective, but they may be dropped from sentences when they’re part of a sentence structure that makes sense without them (e.g., a sentence with the word give up).

The exception is when a hyphen occurs before an adverb that acts as an adjective or past participle. This is especially true when the adverb is an -ly adverb, as in “environmentally-friendly cars,” “happily-married men” or “freshly-cut grass.”

British English

In the United Kingdom, healthcare is primarily provided by the National Health Service (NHS), which is a public body that offers comprehensive care for everyone. It is free at the point of use and is mainly paid for by taxes and national insurance contributions.

In England, however, there is also a small private healthcare sector where patients can pay out of pocket. Often patients go to their GP, who then refers them to a specialist if necessary.

A lot of people in the UK have limited English skills, so it is important that healthcare providers have the right language support in place to help patients communicate effectively with their clinicians. This can be especially important for the increasingly diverse population of the UK, which means that patients are more likely to be non-English speakers.

Healthcare is a complex subject, so it’s important to remember that the two-word form of the word is healthcare in British English and health-care in American English. This will help you ensure that you’re using the correct terminology when writing about health.

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