Role & Responsibilities of a Health Care Provider


A health care provider guides a patient seeking health care to the appropriate specialist. A health care provider may work under many job titles including doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Each health care provider has specific duties and responsibilities regarding his profession, but there are overarching duties that apply to all health care professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, health care provided 14.3 million jobs, 42 percent of which were from “other health care providers” including physical therapists, chiropractors and opticians.

Meet With Patients

  • It is the duty of all health care providers to meet with patients and assess their needs. This involves speaking with the patient or a relative to ascertain the problem. A physical examination will then take place. If the health care provider can conclusively diagnose the ailment, she will advise the patient on what course of action to take. If further testing is required, it is the duty of the health care provider to arrange these tests.

Follow Professional Standards

  • All health care providers must follow the accepted professional standards for their specific profession. These include directions on how to conduct interviews with patients, the keeping of records and how to make decisions. The American Medical Association (AMA) is the professional body for doctors and physicians and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is the professional body for nurses. Failure to follow professional standards can result in legal cases of negligence against the health care provider instigated by the patient or the professional body itself.

Direct Patient To Specialist

  • It is the duty of the health care provider to direct the patient to the appropriate specialist if his is unable to provide care. The health care provider will explain to the patient the extent of his condition, outline why he cannot continue to treat them--whether it is lack of knowledge, equipment or time--and outline several specialists that can carry on the patient’s treatment.

Liaise With Other Health Care Providers

  • In a hospital or care home environment it is the duty of the health care providers to work together to provide a coherent approach to the care of a patient. Keeping records up to date and making sure that all staff know about the condition of the patient is important. Nurses often deal with the daily care of the patient, monitoring health and improvement. They pass any concerns along a doctor who will decide the best course of action and refer the patient to a specialist for treatment. Health care providers working in a hospital also work with health care providers outside the hospital to provide further care as needed by the patient.

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