You may have seen Health Care and Health Care used interchangeably on the internet; while they interpret different things in different places, they are easy to unite or mix, confuse their meanings. Although there are some regional preferences for the use of this term, many searches for the correct spelling of this industry name indicate that more than a few people are confused.

Health care, however you spell it, is a part of our lives where clear communication is very important. Both those who provide health services and their patients need to emphasize the use of wise terminology to achieve success.

As it turns out, these terms are used inconsistently almost everywhere! Following are some of the differences that we can describe.

Definition of Health Care and How to Use it

This version of the term is more widely used in the United Kingdom, although a minority of healthy usage in the UK is still another variant. The definitions in the Cambridge Online Dictionary are:

Activities or businesses providing medical services.

However, it also includes aspects such as:

A range of services provided by a country or organization for the care of physically and mentally ill people.
As you can see, these definitions cover both the day-to-day services involved, as well as the larger systems or businesses needed to provide these services. Health services, it turns out, are very broad. pokerdex

Either as a misspelling, misunderstanding, or deliberate protest, US English speakers seem to think differently about this term than those who are across the pool.

Definition of Health Care and How to Use it

Health care is more widely used in the United States and Canada, but like the definition of health care, both are quite common to make everyone confused. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary introduces additional confusion, defining health care as:

Efforts are made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being, especially by trained and licensed professionals – usually hyphenated when used attributeively.

As you can see, this definition of course covers some of the things that are important for health care, but does not have to include, for example, the entire system that is referred to when people discuss the “health care industry.” It becomes clear, when you see how many people are looking for answers to this question, how this lack of clarity makes it difficult to achieve consistent use in industries that must have clarity to communicate properly with patients!

Solution for ambiguity

It’s easy, after hearing how unusual it is to find consistency in health care referrals, to raise hands and decide not to differentiate. However, there is one option, which is to use these two terms to mean different things. Related to this, there may be a way out of the madness of using health care, health care, and even health care.

“Health care – two words – refers to the actions of the service provider. Health – one word – is a system. This difference is more like a singular and plural difference, in some ways. Health care is a specific thing people do: see patients or prescribe drugs. Health is an industry, a system where people get the health care they need. With so many discussions about the health care industry, it seems like a good difference to do.