Healthcare in a country comprises the sum of activities performed either by institutions or individuals pursuing, through the application of medical, paramedical and nursing knowledge and technology, the purposes/core functions of:
- promoting health and preventing disease;
- curing illness and reducing premature mortality;
- caring for persons affected by chronic illness who require nursing care;
- caring for persons with health-related impairment, disability, and handicaps who require nursing care;
- assisting patients to die with dignity;
- providing and administering public health;
- providing and administering health programs, health insurance and other funding arrangements.
Health-related functions such as the education and training of the health workforce, research and development in health, and environmental health should be distinguished from the core functions; as far as possible they should be excluded when measuring activities belonging to core healthcare functions.