Fundamentally, we must identify three types of health services or groups of health benefits that must be provided:

Essential services

It is the raison d’être of health care provision, as it understands the need to satisfy a need or provide a health outcome.

Being classified as an essential service does not imply being understood as a low value process, on the contrary, it is directly related to the lifestyles, social environment, and productive capacity of our patients. The fact of providing an essential service that implies the recovery of health is not something minor.

The value of health is incalculable. All the processes of providing services aimed at the recovery of health must incorporate actions in fields that go beyond health, such as education, agriculture, industry, etc.

From the economic sector and through the study of supply and demand, we can come to determine the different consequences of the rationalization and provision of resources, in order to try to reach an unstable balance that maintains continuous strategies aimed at the adequate allocation of resources.

To these we already appreciate that the sense of «essential» goes much further. The essential implies orienting ourselves and adapting ourselves to what is substantial, to what makes things, in one way or another, be done in the way they should be done in order to achieve the right results.

Additional services

These are the services that are incorporated into essential services and that produce an increase in the value of the health product for the patient. There is an added value to the health supply that goes beyond the provision of health outcomes.

When the added value of the health product is increased, it produces a directly proportional relationship in the benefits that are incorporated to the patient. As is logical to think, there are different situations which make the sensitivities of different individuals different, i.e. it is perceived differently by different patients.

Specifically, we are referring to aspects such as

Accessibility

It is the ease with which a certain service can be accessed. Accessibility refers to aspects such as location, service hours, quantity of service, etc. 

Relationship between the user and the organisation

There are different types of relationships with health organisations. These are a consequence of the interaction between professionals and patients and the behaviours that professionals maintain in the provision of the service. The way in which patients use the facilities, equipment, furniture, etc. is also considered.

The way in which these relationships are produced will determine the perceptions of the service and its positive or negative consideration.

The patient himself

What are our patients like? Do we know? It is undeniable that knowing or not knowing what our patients are like determines the quantity of the different services provided to them and therefore the quality they perceive of our care. Not knowing the patient means that we are not going to provide what the patient really expects and needs.

Let us think of a patient who, for whatever reason, is unable to communicate his or her problem adequately. In that case, it is possible that without the proper knowledge, the wrong service will be provided that goes far beyond the patient’s health.

Image and communication style

As we have already indicated, the image we have of a health care finish generates a filter through which the patient will relate to the health care system in one way or another, with one attitude or another.

The image contemplates two aspects: 

The first of these is that which is aimed at the contemplation of the organisation as a global whole that provides a service. The second corresponds to that which is generated during the provision of the service itself. For both, the communication system used determines the image that will be generated in the short, medium and long term.

What will our patients say when they finish the health care process they have started? It has been sufficiently proven how negative comments influence people’s perception of healthcare organisations and the different healthcare practices that are carried out.

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