As medicine continues to advance, new words have been introduced into English to describe new treatments and technologies. Unfortunately, with all these terms emerging quickly it can be challenging keeping up with all their spelling variations; especially if one considers their pronunciation. Are we speaking of two words when discussing health care? That depends on your context and audience; when writing for American audiences, use “health care” when discussing this system as a whole. Similarly, when writing for British audiences, use “healthcare” instead. However, the difference is not as substantial as may appear at first. Indeed, the AP Stylebook actually specifies health-care when used as an adjective.

Health care refers to all services and support necessary for optimal wellness, including preventive measures as well as treatments for illness and injury. A variety of providers can offer these services, including physicians and nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians as well as pharmacists and administrators who play key roles within healthcare.

A high-performing healthcare system entails an interwoven set of services that come together to meet the needs of targeted populations. A successful system must include financing mechanisms, an adequately paid workforce with sufficient skillsets and reliable information that informs policy and decision-making, well-maintained facilities for service delivery and ensure access to these services for all individuals regardless of finances or geographic considerations.

Accessing quality health care for all can be achieved in various ways, including decreasing financial barriers, expanding access to medical education and training, improving primary and community care quality, streamlining service delivery with technology and expanding coverage for various forms of medical interventions. Of course, such improvements must also coincide with an equitable distribution of funding – something which may prove challenging in an increasingly fragmented and competitive market.

If you are uncertain of the correct spelling of these terms, it is a good idea to consult an online dictionary or editor. Some editors suggest sticking to traditional “health care” when referring to an entity such as healthcare systems as an entity itself; other editors might prefer “healthcare”. But ultimately it’s up to both you and your target audience as to which one they would prefer;