health policy

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A set of principles formally agreed to by elected and/or appointed health authorities at the national, regional, or local level. Health policy may be initiated by professional workers in the health system, by politicians, or by both. The purpose may be to guide health planning and health systems development to meet specified health needs; to provide specified programs and services; to ensure a consistent basis for the regulation, implementation, administration, and provision of health services, consistent with stated aims and objectives; to enhance efficiency and effectiveness; to control escalating costs; to advance a political agenda; or, often, to achieve some combination of these aims. Health policies require continuous monitoring and evaluation to remain consistent with underlying societal values and resource limitations to facilitate evolution in response to changing needs of the population.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology — Politics.

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