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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.



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. Historically, however, they were often founded and funded by religious orders or charitable individuals and leaders. Hospitals are nowadays staffed by professionally trained clinicians, 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, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, support staff, nurses, pharmaconomists/pharmacists, therapists, psychologists,chiropractors, physical therapists, optometrists, paramedics, and a wide variety of other individuals regulated and/or licensed to provide some type of health care.

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, licensed clinical marriage and family therapists, 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.

Stress among health care practitioners

Workplace stress is pervasive in the health care industry because of inadequate staffing levels, long work hours, exposure to infectious diseases and hazardous substances, threat of malpractice litigation, and the constant exposure to death and dying. According to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, "Studies indicate that health care workers have higher rates of substance abuse and suicide than other professions and elevated rates of depression and anxiety linked to job stress". This elevated level of stress is also manifest in high rates of burnout, absenteeism, and diagnostic errors and reduced rates of patient satisfaction.

Shortages of health professionals

2010 United States federal budget invests $330 million to increase the number of doctors, nurses, and dentists practicing in areas of the country experiencing shortages of health professionals. The Budget expands loan repayment programs for physicians, nurses, and dentists who agree to practice in medically underserved areas. This funding will enhance the capacity of nursing schools to increase the number of nurses. It will also allow States to increase access to oral health care through dental workforce development grant. The Budget’s new resources will sustain the expansion of the health care workforce funded in the Recovery Act.

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 Statesmarker rely primarily on private health insurance.

Practicing without a license

Practicing health care services without a health care license is generally a serious crime that could be punished by up to several years in prison.

For instance, under Michiganmarker laws, an individual is guilty of a felony if he practices or holds himself out as practicing a health profession subject to regulation without a license or registration or under a suspended, revoked, lapsed, void, or fraudulently obtained license or registration, or exceeding what a limited license or registration allows, or who uses the license or registration of another person as his own. The "practice of medicine" may be defined as any diagnosis, treatment, prevention, cure, or relieving of a human disease, ailment, defect, complaint, or other physical or mental condition, by attendance, advice, device, diagnostic test, or other means, or offering, undertaking, attempting to do, or holding oneself out as able to do, any of these acts.

In Florida, such crime is classified as 3rd degree felony, which may give imprisonment up to 5 years. Practicing a health care profession without a license which results in serious bodily injury classifies as 2nd degree felony, giving up to 15 years imprisonment.

See also



  1. About:Psychology. (2007). Difference Between Pyschologists and Psychiatrists. Retrieved March 4, 2007, from
  2. "Exposure to Stress: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals". DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008–136. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. July 2008. Retrieved on December 2, 2008.
  4. --> Practicing Medicine. In turn citing Michigan laws
  5. CHAPTER 2004-256 Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1118 State of Florida, Department of State.
  6. 775.082. Penalties United States Sodomy Laws. compilation v1.0 (January 28, 1998)

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