Healthcare vs. Medical Care| What’s The Difference And Why It Matters

The current approach to health in the United States is completely backwards. When you look closer, it’s not hard to see. The United States spends more than 2x as much per person on healthcare than any other country in the world and yet experiences worse health outcomes than their peers around the world. So what’s the problem?

Before we can begin to fix anything I feel an important first step is to understand the difference between healthcare vs. medical care. They are not the same thing. What is called ‘healthcare’ in the United States is actually medical care and does nothing to improve our overall health. Medical care is simply providing products, services, or procedures to manage symptoms of a condition. Making this important distinction will allow us to change our approach and begin providing more opportunies for patients tp create healthy habits and improve health outcomes.

Healthcare vs. Medical Care: What’s The Difference?

The first step to improving health outcomes for individual patients is understanding the difference between healthcare vs medical care. While I’m sure you could look up long and complicated definitions of the terms, I think it’s better to keep things simple.

Medical Care is Something Given Or Done To You By a Doctor
Healthcare Is Something You Do For Yourself
The problem is that we use the word ‘healthcare’ interchangeably with ‘medical care’. They are not the same thing. And when we substitute medical care for things that actually improve our health, we run into the health problems we are currently seeing.

Aspects of Medical Care

Medical care is something given or done to you by a medical provider. In traditional medicine this involves pills, injections, surgeries, etc. In this definition, even more conservative treatments like chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage would be considered medical care. Some of the hallmarks of medical care include the following. 

  • Treats Symptoms of Disease
  • Short Term Goals
  • Dependence on Doctors For Treatments
  • Passive Treatments
  • Reactive 
  • Treating Isolated Body Parts
  • Better Outcomes For Acute Conditions and Emergencies
  • Narrow Spectrum of Benefits
  • Profit Driven
Medical providers simply provide a prescription or perform a treatment. The patient is a passive partcipant in their care.

Medical care is provided by a doctor to provide short term relief and symptoms management

Aspects Of Healthcare

Healthcare are things that patients do for themselves. Diet, exercise, stress relief, sleep are all aspects. The hallmarks of healthcare include:

  • Treats Causes of Disease
  • Long Term, Sustainable Goals
  • Independence From Doctors and Treatments
  • Active Treatments
  • Proactive and Builds Confidence
  • Treats the Whole Body
  • Better Outcomes For Chronic Conditions
  • Broad Spectrum of Benefits
  • Patient Driven

Healthcare providers help patients by providing the guidance, motivation, and accountability to create healthy habits and lifestyle. The patient is an active participant as they are the one who are doing the work.

Healthcare is performed by the patient to improve aspects of their health.

Why It Matters

Good health is a universal, human desire. Relying on medical services to manage symptoms of disease does not move us any closer to good health. In fact, it does the opposite. Ignoring underlying causes and providing ways for patients to improve create healthy habits earlier allows conditions to get worse as we get older. Diabetes, heart disease, many forms of cancer, arthritis, joint pain, most of the conditions that people suffer from as they get older are all dramatically influenced by your lifestyle. No medical product, service, or procedure can fix a lifestyle. 

The only way to improve health outcomes in the United States is to provide patients with real healthcare. Education, guidance, motivation, and accountability to help create healthy habits and allow patients to take control of their health.


Understanding the differences between healthcare vs medical care is the first step to improving health outcomes in the United States. If we stop wasting time and money on endless medical care and start investing in ways to help our community improve their habits and lifestyle, we can drastically improve health outcomes for all conditions.

I opened my clinic and started this website with the goal of helping individuals build the strength and confidence to live active, healthy, and happy lives. I focus mostly on joint pain. But the reality is this educational, strength based approach has benefits that extend to every aspect of your life. If you’re ready to get started I’ve put together an easy strength program for all ability levels. Find it at the link below.

Get Started With Our Free Strength Program

Solving Pain With Strength: An Approachable, Step-by-Step Strength Program For Adults Limited By Joint Pain

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