Year 12s, let’s compare the biomedical and social models of health. It’s important to understand the key differences between the two models and most of what we need to know can be taken from the definitions of each model that VCAA provides in its glossary.
VCAA tells us that the biomedical model “focuses on the physical or biological aspects of disease and illness. It is a medical model of care practised by doctors and health professionals and is associated with the diagnosis, cure and treatment of disease”. Comparatively, the social model is “a conceptual framework within which improvements in health and wellbeing are achieved by directing effort towards addressing the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. The model is based on the understanding that in order for health gains to occur, social, economic and environmental determinants must be addressed.”
That’s all a bit wordy, really. If we break it down, we can see some of the main differences:
Now, let’s try to apply that information to a question. Let’s pretend that we come across a question in an exam that asks us to identify differences between the biomedical model of health and the social model of health. The question is worth two marks.
What would you do? As the question is worth two marks, we need to make two points. And with the differences that we listed earlier, we can answer this question pretty easily. Here’s one example:
“Firstly, the social model of health is a conceptual framework that can be practised by a wide range of individuals, whereas the biomedical model of health is practised only by doctors and health professionals. Secondly, the social model of health considers preventative measures, whereas the biomedical model considers only diagnosis, cure and treatment of disease. This results in the social model of health placing less of a burden on the Australian healthcare system.”
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