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Health providers play numerous roles in the overall well being of their patients. In addition to providing assistance with physical needs, health care providers offer advice and direction for illness prevention and injury. Administrative health care providers create an environment that responds to the health care needs of the community and act as liaisons between patients and insurance companies for billing and payments.
Many health care providers are involved in the evaluation of disease and injury. From the paramedic who responds to a call for help, to the lab technician who verifies the results of a blood test, every provider along the way works to find the cause of a patient's condition. Nurses often take patient histories to look for clues as to the causes of the current condition, while the doctors diagnose disease and injury. X-ray technicians, mental health professionals and specialists often collaborate to make assessments.
Health care providers deliver necessary treatment through a variety of venues. Pharmacists fill the medication orders given by the treating physician who diagnoses the patient and prescribes a treatment plan. Physical therapists work with patients' physical rehabilitation, while psychologists and psychiatrists treat emotional and mental disorders.
Short- and long-term care are provided by a host of health care providers, from doctors and nurses to nurses' aides and personal care assistants. Health care providers may become an integral part of an ailing person's life and present for most activities. Health care workers specializing in hospice care attend to the needs of the dying, while those involved in midwifery accompany women through the childbirth process.
Health care providers take on the role of educators as well as healers. Dentists train patients on how to brush and floss daily to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Physical therapists provide patients with exercise plans and tools to avoid further injuries. Nutritionists help patients form healthy eating patterns and counselors give patients an outlet for their emotional issues to prevent breakdowns.
An entire cadre of health care professionals operates the facilities that offer health care services to the community. They employ administrators, billing clerks, receptionists and managers to keep the operations running for the medical staff and their patients. Health care providers in administration make sure that laws and guidelines are followed and insurance policies are met to pay for patient care. They keep important medical records and protect patient privacy.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."