US Healthcare system - The Origin

Posted by Health Entrepreneur 03/06/2015

The United States healthcare system originated in the 17th century from a simple method of home medication and itinerant doctors with minimal practice, to a more complex, technological, scientific, and authoritative system called the "medical industrial complex". This institute was based on medicinal science and technology,and was under the influence of medical professionals. This system evolved due to the recognition of the "germ theory" as the origin of the disease, professionalism of doctors, technological developments, emergence of medical schools and medical insurances, and the expansion of profit making medical healthcare units. This article explains more about its origin.and modern technologies. 


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Early Medicines:

Before the eighteenth century, women in the household took care of the sick within the family and in case of very severe and aggressive illness the doctor was called. “Domestic medicine” was a mixture of scientific medicines and home remedies, developed by itinerant doctors. Practicing midwifery and taking care of women in labor and during delivery was a prevalent profession among women, as deliveries took place within their houses.


Western medicine was grounded on the Greek notion of “four humors”- blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. A balance between the humours led to good health and an imbalance caused several diseases. The medicinal properties of hot, dry, wet and cold compositions, and a range of plants and herbs, were also considered.


Surgeons and “bone-setters” were occasionally summoned. In the late colonial period, well qualified and trained physicians manifested in America.


The Massachusetts Medical Society formed in 1781 and the first college of medicine established by The University of Pennsylvania in 1765, licensed the physicians. Physicians who sought after progress in American medicine and medical profession established new medical schools. Well-equipped doctors became more authentic and practiced as entrepreneurs, accepting service charges.

Origin of germ theory:

The 18th century physicians emphasized that diseases originated and spread through germs and social environment. City governments formed health departments and the municipal dispensaries offered free consultation in cities, when worries about hygiene and sanitation arose, due to the outbreak of tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera and yellow fever. Eventually, the government-financed public health and healthcare, and the private health centres declined.


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