The health care industry is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing industries. Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product of most developed nations, health care can form an enormous part of a country's economy. In 2003, health care costs paid to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, medical device manufacturers and other components of the health care system, consumed 15.3 percent  of the GDP of the United States, the largest of any country in the world. In 2001, for the OECD countries the average was 8.4 percent  with the United States (13.9%), Switzerland (10.9%), and Germany (10.7%) being the top three.
According to Health Affairs, $7,498 will be spent on every woman, man and child in the United States in 2007, 20 percent of all spending. Costs are projected to increase to $12,782 by 2016.
The healthcare industry includes the delivery of health services by health care providers. Usually such services receive payment from the patient or from the patient's insurance company; although they may be government-financed (such as the National Health Service in the United Kingdom) or delivered by charities or volunteers, particularly in poorer countries.