Health maintenance is a guiding principle in health care that emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention rather than the management of symptoms and illness. It includes the full array of counseling, screening, and other preventive services designed to minimize the risk of premature sickness and death and to assure optimal physical, mental, and emotional health throughout the natural life cycle. The organization of medical care to encourage health maintenance includes removing financial, physical, and psychological barriers to obtaining health promotion and disease prevention services in clinical settings; the use of media to deliver health education messages; and advocacy of health policies that reduce the risk of injury; that reduce exposure to toxins in the water, air, and workplace; and that ensure the availability of recreational facilities.
ROBERT S. LAWRENCE
(SEE ALSO: Health Maintenance Organization [HMO])