Health care provider

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A health care provider or health professional is an organization or person who delivers proper health care in a systematic way professionally to any individual in need of health care services.

The term used by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) focuses on persons and the NLM term is "Health Personnel" and is defined as "Men and women working in the provision of health services, whether as individual practitioners or employees of health institutions and programs, whether or not professionally trained, and whether or not subject to public regulation."[1].



A hospital is an institution for health care, often but not always providing for longer-term patient stays. Today, hospitals are usually funded by the state, health organizations (for profit or non-profit), by health insurances or by charities and by donations. In history, however, they were often founded and funded by religious orders or charitable individuals and leaders. Hospitals are nowadays staffed by professional physicians, surgeons and nurses, whereas in history, this work was usually done by the founding religious orders or by volunteers.

Laboratories and research

A medical laboratory or clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on biological specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient. Such laboratories may be divided into categorical departments such as microbiology, hematology, clinical biochemistry, immunology, serology, histology, cytology, cytogenetics, or virology. In many countries, there are two main types of labs that process the majority of medical specimens. Hospital laboratories are attached to a hospital, and perform tests on these patients. Private, or community laboratories receive samples from general practitioners, insurance companies, and other health clinics for analysis.

Biomedical research, or experimental medicine, in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research or applied research conducted to aid the body of knowledge in the field of medicine. Medical research can be divided into two general categories: the evaluation of new treatments for both safety and efficacy in what are termed clinical trials, and all other research that contributes to the development of new treatments. The latter is termed preclinical research if its goal is specifically to elaborate knowledge for the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Practitioners and professionals

Health care professionals include physicians, physician assistants, support staff, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, psychologists, veterinarians, dentists, optometrists, and a wide variety of other individuals regulated and/or licensed to provide some type of health care.

Among allied-health personnel, a physician extender is another name for physician assistants, according to the NLM[2].

Advanced practice clinicians

Advanced practice clinicians[3] and mid-level providers[4] are informal terms to indicate providers who are not physicians. This includes nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

In the United States, the number of advanced practice clinicians is increasing faster than the number of physicians'[3].

Advanced practice clinicians can deliver intensive care comparable to medical trainees[5].

Advanced practice clinicians can deliver hospital-based care comparable to physicians[6].

Mental health professionals

A mental health professional is a person who offers services for the purpose of improving an individual's mental health or treating mental illness. These professionals include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses as well as other professionals. These professionals often deal with the same illnesses, disorders, conditions, and issues; however their scope of practice often differs. The most significant difference between mental health professionals is education and training.[7]

Health care systems

A health care system is the organization by which health care is provided. Such systems could be endorsed and/or managed by governments or managed completely or partially by private market-based institutions.


Health insurance is a type of insurance whereby the insurer pays the medical costs of the insured if the insured becomes sick due to covered causes, or due to accidents. The insurer may be a private organization or a government agency. Market-based health care systems such as that in the United States rely primarily on private health insurance.

See also



  1. Anonymous (2024), Healthcare provider (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Anonymous (2024), Physician assistants (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Auerbach DI, Staiger DO, Buerhaus PI (2018). "Growing Ranks of Advanced Practice Clinicians - Implications for the Physician Workforce". N Engl J Med. 378 (25): 2358–2360. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1801869. PMID 29924944.
  4. Peters AL (2018). "The Changing Definition of a Primary Care Provider". Ann Intern Med. 169 (12): 875–876. doi:10.7326/M18-2941. PMID 30458467.
  5. Kreeftenberg HG, Pouwels S, Bindels AJGH, de Bie A, van der Voort PHJ (2019). "Impact of the Advanced Practice Provider in Adult Critical Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Crit Care Med. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000003667. PMID 30720539.
  6. Johnson SA, Ciarkowski CE, Lappe KL, Kendrick DR, Smith A, Reddy SP (2020). "Comparison of Resident, Advanced Practice Clinician, and Hospitalist Teams in an Academic Medical Center: Association With Clinical Outcomes and Resource Utilization". J Hosp Med. 15 (12): 709–715. doi:10.12788/jhm.3475. PMID 33231541 Check |pmid= value (help).
  7. About:Psychology. (2007). Difference Between Pyschologists and Psychiatrists. Retrieved March 4, 2007, from

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