Because of the current competitive environment, health care providers (hospitals, HMOs, physicians, and others) are constantly searching for better products and better means for delivering them. The health care product is often loosely defined as a service. The authors develop a more precise definition of the health care product, product line, and product mix. A bundle-of-elements concept is presented for the health care product. These conceptualizations help to address how health care providers can segment their market and position, promote, and price their products. Though the authors focus on hospitals, the concepts and procedures developed are applicable to other health care organizations.
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Just as there was a shift from viewing disease as a state to thinking of it as a process, the same shift happened in definitions of health. Again, the WHO played a leading role when it fostered the development of the health promotion movement in the 1980s. This brought in a new conception of health, not as a state, but in dynamic terms of resiliency, in other words, as "a resource for living". 1984 WHO revised the definition of health defined it as "the extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities".[10] Thus, health referred to the ability to maintain homeostasis and recover from insults. Mental, intellectual, emotional and social health referred to a person's ability to handle stress, to acquire skills, to maintain relationships, all of which form resources for resiliency and independent living.[9] This opens up many possibilities for health to be taught, strengthened and learned.
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