Getting Involved in Medical Treatment

Medical treatment is the effort to fix or control a health problem and, sometimes, cure it. It may involve medication, therapy or surgery. Health care providers treat patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals and private clinics. Some providers specialize in particular parts of the body or certain diseases, like cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. Others work with specific age groups or organ systems, such as internal medicine or pediatrics. Other specialties include surgical or therapeutic care, such as plastic surgery and gynecology. Some medical treatment is preventive, such as vaccinations and screening for cancer.

The first step in medical treatment is the examination by a physician, often in an outpatient setting. During the exam, the doctor listens to the patient’s complaint and reviews the patient’s medical history. The physician then orders diagnostic tests and procedures to help determine what is causing the patient’s health problems. The procedure and test results are documented in the patient’s medical record.

If a medical problem is diagnosed, the patient and the doctor decide on a treatment plan. Some treatments are not intended to cure the illness but only to relieve symptoms and keep it under control, such as antidepressants for anxiety or sedatives for pain. Other treatments are meant to improve a condition, such as steroid injections in the knee to reduce pain from arthritis.

While the line between first aid and medical treatment can be blurry, some examples of first aid are the cleaning of a wound, suturing of a broken bone or using a device to hold a fractured arm or leg in place. Other medical treatment includes the application of antiseptics to a cut, burn or wound, restraining an injured person in a safe manner and providing oxygen to a person suffering from shock.

Getting involved in your medical treatment is an important way to make sure you are aware of the options available and can weigh them against the benefits and risks. This process is called shared decision making, and it’s possible to use tools to assist in the process. You can also ask your health professional for more information about the options available to you.

Cost is one of the biggest obstacles to medical treatment, especially for people without insurance. The price of a procedure can vary significantly from state to state and even from clinic to clinic, depending on how much doctors charge and the type of facility where it is performed. Several factors can influence the costs of healthcare services, including geographical area, provider experience and reputation, and how complex or routine the procedure is.

Many adults report delaying or foregoing medical treatment because of concerns about the cost. People from lower-income backgrounds, such as Hispanic adults, have the highest rates of delaying or foregoing care because of cost. Other racial and ethnic groups, such as American Indian or Alaska Native people and people who identify with multiple racial and ethnic categories, also have higher rates of worry about paying for medical treatment.

Previous post Hospitals and Nursing Homes for Elderly and Disabled People
Next post Health Programs