Medical sociology is the sociological analysis of medical organizations and institutions; the production of knowledge and selection of methods, the actions and interactions of healthcare professionals, and the social or cultural (rather than clinical or bodily) effects of medical practice. The field commonly interacts with the sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, and social epistemology. Medical sociologists are also interested in the qualitative experiences of patients, often working at the boundaries of public health, social work, demography and gerontology to explore phenomena at the intersection of the social and clinical sciences. Health disparities commonly relate to typical categories such as class and race. Objective sociological research findings quickly become a normative and political issue.
Early work in medical sociology was conducted by Lawrence J Henderson whose theoretical interests in the work of Vilfredo Pareto inspired Talcott Parsons interests in sociological systems theory. Parsons is one of the founding fathers of medical sociology, and applied social role theory to interactional relations between sick people and others. Key contributors to medical sociology since the 1950s include Howard S. Becker, Mike Bury, Peter Conrad, Jack Douglas, David Silverman, Phil Strong, Bernice Pescosolido, Carl May, Anne Rogers, Anselm Strauss, Renee Fox, and Joseph W. Schneider.
The field of medical sociology is usually taught as part of a wider sociology, clinical psychology or health studies degree course, or on dedicated master's degree courses where it is sometimes combined with the study of medical ethics and bioethics. In Britain, sociology was introduced into the medical curriculum following the Goodenough report in 1944: "In medicine, 'social explanations' of the aetiology of disease meant for some doctors a redirection of medical thought from the purely clinical and psychological criteria of illness. The introduction of 'social' factors into medical explanation was most strongly evidenced in branches of medicine closely related to the community — Social Medicine and, later, General Practice" ( Reid 1976 ).
A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs. A disease may be caused by external factors such as pathogens or by internal dysfunctions. For example, internal dysfunctions of the immune system can produce a variety of different diseases, including various forms of immunodeficiency, hypersensitivity, allergies and autoimmune disorders.
Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in animals. The scope of veterinary medicine is wide, covering all animal species, both domesticated and wild, with a wide range of conditions which can affect different species.
Social work is an academic discipline and profession that concerns itself with individuals, families, groups, and communities in an effort to enhance social functioning and overall well-being. Social functioning is the way in which people perform their social roles, and the structural institutions that are provided to sustain them. Social work applies social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, political science, public health, community development, law, and economics, to engage with client systems, conduct assessments, and develop interventions to solve social and personal problems; and to bring about social change. Social work practice is often divided into micro-work, which involves working directly with individuals or small groups; and macro-work, which involves working with communities, and - within social policy - fostering change on a larger scale.
Medical anthropology studies "human health and disease, health care systems, and biocultural adaptation". It views humans from multidimensional and ecological perspectives. It is one of the most highly developed areas of anthropology and applied anthropology, and is a subfield of social and cultural anthropology that examines the ways in which culture and society are organized around or influenced by issues of health, health care and related issues.
Malingering is the fabrication, feigning, or exaggeration of physical or psychological symptoms designed to achieve a desired outcome, such as relief from duty or work.
Medicalization or medicalisation is the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus become the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. Medicalization can be driven by new evidence or hypotheses about conditions; by changing social attitudes or economic considerations; or by the development of new medications or treatments.
The SOAP note is a method of documentation employed by healthcare providers to write out notes in a patient's chart, along with other common formats, such as the admission note. Documenting patient encounters in the medical record is an integral part of practice workflow starting with appointment scheduling, patient check-in and exam, documentation of notes, check-out, rescheduling, and medical billing. Additionally, it serves as a general cognitive framework for physicians to follow as they assess their patients.
Health equity arises from access to the social determinants of health, specifically from wealth, power and prestige. Individuals who have consistently been deprived of these three determinants are significantly disadvantaged from health inequities, and face worse health outcomes than those who are able to access certain resources. Equity refers to how resources are distributed, or, allocated among a given population. In addition, the term "equity" is an ethic and human rights principle. Heath inequities stem from a failure in this distribution and not providing each individual with the resources he or she needs. It is important to note that it is not equity to simply provide every individual with the same resources; that would be equality. In order to achieve health equity, resources must be allocated based on an individual need-based principle.
The sociology of health and illness, alternatively the sociology of health and wellness, examines the interaction between society and health. The objective of this topic is to see how social life affects morbidity and mortality rate, and vice versa. This aspect of sociology differs from medical sociology in that this branch of sociology discusses health and illness in relation to social institutions such as family, employment, and school. The sociology of medicine limits its concern to the patient-practitioner relationship and the role of health professionals in society. The sociology of health and illness covers sociological pathology, reasons for seeking particular types of medical aid, and patient compliance or noncompliance with medical regimes.
The self-advocacy movement for people with disabilities has its roots in the broader civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s but is in many respects still in its infancy. In North America the self-advocacy movement is led by a national organization called Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) and supported by a relatively small number of organizations, such as ACT in the United States and LiveWorkPlay in Canada and internationally through the People First organization.
The field of social medicine seeks to implement social care through
Race and health refers to how being identified with a specific race influences health. Race is a complex concept that changes across time and space and that depends on both self-identification and social recognition. In the study of race and health, scientists organize people in racial categories depending on different factors such as: phenotype, ancestry, social identity, genetic makeup and lived experience. “Race” and ethnicity often remain undifferentiated in health research.
Health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. This article lists major topics related to personal health.
Medical statistics deals with applications of statistics to medicine and the health sciences, including epidemiology, public health, forensic medicine, and clinical research. Medical statistics has been a recognized branch of statistics in the United Kingdom for more than 40 years but the term has not come into general use in North America, where the wider term 'biostatistics' is more commonly used. However, "biostatistics" more commonly connotes all applications of statistics to biology. Medical statistics is a subdiscipline of statistics. "It is the science of summarizing, collecting, presenting and interpreting data in medical practice, and using them to estimate the magnitude of associations and test hypotheses. It has a central role in medical investigations. It not only provides a way of organizing information on a wider and more formal basis than relying on the exchange of anecdotes and personal experience, but also takes into account the intrinsic variation inherent in most biological processes."
Carl May FAcSS is a British sociologist. He researches in the fields of medical sociology and science and technology studies. Formerly based at Southampton University and Newcastle University, he is now Professor of Medical Sociology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Carl May was elected an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences in 2006. He was appointed an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2010. His work falls into two distinct themes.
The Normalization process model is a sociological model, developed by Carl R. May, that describes the adoption of new technologies in health care. The model provides framework for process evaluation using three components – actors, objects, and contexts – that are compared across four constructs: Interactional workability, relational integration, skill-set workability, and contextual integration. This model helped build the Normalization process theory.
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various maladaptations related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions. See glossary of psychiatry.
Health policy and management is the field relating to leadership, management, and administration of public health systems, health care systems, hospitals, and hospital networks. Health care administrators are considered health care professionals.
Cultural competence in healthcare refers to the ability for healthcare professionals to demonstrate cultural competence toward patients with diverse values, beliefs, and feelings. This process includes consideration of the individual social, cultural, and psychological needs of patients for effective cross-cultural communication with their health care providers. The goal of cultural competence in health care is to reduce health disparities and to provide optimal care to patients regardless of their race, gender, ethnic background, native languages spoken, and religious or cultural beliefs. Cultural competency training is important in health care fields where human interaction is common, including medicine, nursing, allied health, mental health, social work, pharmacy, oral health, and public health fields.
Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D. is dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Before joining Tulane he was chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health. LaVeist focuses mainly on the development of policy and interventions to address race disparities in health-related outcomes.
Reid, Margaret (1976), "The Development of Medical Sociology in Britain", Discussion Papers in Social Research No 13, University of Glasgow, archived from the original on 2011-09-30, retrieved 2011-03-11
Conrad, Peter (2007). The Medicalization of Society: On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8584-6. OCLC 72774268.
Helman, Cecil (2007). Culture, Health, and Illness (5th ed.). London, England: Hodder Arnold. ISBN 978-0-340-91450-2. OCLC 74966843.Law, Jacky (2006). Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda. New York, NY: Carroll and Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-1783-5. OCLC 64590433.Levy, Judith A.; Pescosolido, Bernice A. (2002). Social Networks and Health (1st ed.). Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Boston, MA: JAI. ISBN 978-0-7623-0881-1. OCLC 50494394.
Mechanic, David (1994). Inescapable Decisions: The Imperatives of Health Reform. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56000-121-8. OCLC 28029448.