Healthcare vs. Health Care—What’s the Difference?

Healthcare and health care may sound the same, but they have two different meanings. Here we break down the semantics, so it’s more clear what the difference is and where your role falls.

Healthcare – One Word

Grammarist explains that healthcare refers to the business or institution behind the provision of health care. Grammarist also adds that healthcare can refer to a set of specific health care services a business, institution, or other entity may provide. It’s a general term for the field, that’s become more common over time.

Health Care – Two Words

In contrast, per Merriam-Webster, health care is the provision of care by trained professionals. Health care means maintaining or restoring an individual to health and encompasses physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It’s a term that is more accurate to the work and workers who provide health care, such as doctors, psychologists, physical therapists and more.

What the Difference Means for Health Care Employees

To put this into perspective, if you work as a registered nurse, you likely provide health care within a healthcare institution. Therefore, understanding the difference between these two terms can help you better understand your role as a caregiver.

While healthcare deals more with the business side of things, health care encompasses the wellness of the entire person—their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It’s essential to recognize these three elements of health and work to provide care to your patients in a way that helps bring them to optimal health.

Keep in mind that depending on your writing formatting, there may be formal writing requirements for how to use these two terms (you may also see it hyphenated as health-care). However, we’re just focusing on the meaning behind these two terms, not the grammar technicalities between them.

Arbor Associates Bridges the Two Terms

Several organizations manage to provide health care within a compassionate healthcare organizational system. We typically prefer to use the term health care, because we find it to be more accurate to the health care professionals we staff – and also because it centers the person receiving care as the main focus, as opposed to the organization or field in general.

The terms are often used interchangeably but it’s important to understand why the difference exists and what it is. And when you’ve worked in health care staffing for 40 years like us, you get to know these things pretty well!

If you find yourself searching for a new role that encompasses whole health for your patients—meaning not just their physical health but emotional and mental health as well, consider a contract staffing position with Arbor Associates. We genuinely care both about our employees and the clients they serve and will work to help match you with the right fit. Explore our open positions today!