Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Healthcare Philosophy

On Healthcare Philosophy: As a fundamental social institution, healthcare seeks to maintain and improve the well-being of people. Healthcare philosophy, therefore, centers on the study of how the healthcare process achieves its objectives in caring for patients. It also questions the general viability of healthcare's various sub-structures including, medical ethics, health economics, health politics, clinical trials, and quality assurance. In effect, there are two basic philosophical paths to understanding healthcare as a social institution: existentialism and phenomenology. From an existential perspective, the individual (patient) is at the center of the healthcare process. That is, he or she effectively controls the extent of their medical treatments from birth to death. From a phenomenological perspective, however, the individual can never account for all of the internal/external forces (phenomena) acting on his or her mind/body. Thus, phenomenologists like Heidegger would suggest that patients ought to approach healthcare from the potential consequences of the absolute negative. In other words, the possibility of entering "the Nothing" (or the total negation of tangible reality) should always be present in the patient's mind when receiving healthcare.

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