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Your Healthcare Provider
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In order to keep an up-to-date relationship with your body, you’ll need to find a healthcare provider, whom you see at least once a year for a regular check-up. A healthcare provider can be any type of medical professional, including a family practice physician or your ob-gyn. It’s important to have a healthcare provider for a number of reasons. First of all, by meeting with your provider on a regular basis, and by having a physical exam and lab work done on your blood, your provider will learn what is “normal” for your body. Then, if something abnormal shows up in a physical or test, your provider will be able to easily identify the problem. It’s also important to have a provider who knows your medical history, your medication regimen, and your lifestyle. That way, your provider will be able to identify any symptoms you mention and consider the aspects of your life along with the symptom in giving you a comprehensive diagnosis. Furthermore, if your provider is familiar with your family’s medical history, he or she will be able to talk to you about how to prevent certain diseases to which you might be genetically predisposed.

Your provider will also be able to tell you when you need to see a specialist. If something regarding a specific area of your body looks abnormal, or needs to be checked further, your provider will let you know that you need to see a specialist. For example, if you have a rash or an irregular mole, your provider will tell you to go to a dermatologist. Listen to your provider, and don’t put off the specialist. It’s important to be safe, and to heed medical advice from a professional. Your primary provider will keep in contact with your specialist and stay informed about your health and the specialist’s diagnosis and treatment. This type of relationship is often found in “managed care” systems like HMOs and PPOs. These are health systems that join providers, other healthcare providers (like specialists) and insurance companies together in an inter-related system of planning, providing and paying for a patient’s healthcare. If you don’t participate in one of these types of plans, you can still arrange to have your physician keep in contact with your specialist.

Click below to read about related topics.

Introduction
How to Choose a Provider
Talking to Your Provider
Getting a Second Opinion
Types of Providers
Definitions