Health System Risks and Defined Health

In general, health is defined as the condition of being able to cope with ordinary demands of life. Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “an entire state of total physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and infirmity”. A number of definitions have also been used over time for medical purposes. For example, a person who is mentally healthy may be described as having above average mental health, while a person with below average mental health may be considered mentally unhealthy.


A major problem with defining health is that it has become almost dependent on the definition used by each country or region. It is, after all, most commonly used in clinical settings. The WHO leads an effort to standardize the definition of health within the organization through the provision of quality guidelines. This leads to changes in the definition of health systems each year, because new definitions are constantly being developed in light of new concepts and information on how to improve health. For example, in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now uses a more centralized definition of overall health that now includes a measure of patient health risk. The most recent version of this definition is called the Healthcare Quality Improvement Program ( HCIP) and covers more than 150 indicators related to patient safety.

The expanded HCIP definition involves five risk indicators instead of the previous four, and therefore has become known as the Systematic Review of Disease Criteria (SORD). According to the researchers behind the latest definitions, SORD can include new ways of identifying diseases, evaluate existing definitions, and provide methods to reduce the burden of suffering caused by such diseases. However, even with the inclusion of SORD, there is still no definition for what a disease is, nor for how its symptoms should be diagnosed. As a result, it can be said that over time, different definitions of health have appeared, which may not provide all the answers we need to have about our health.