Medical treatment is the care of a person with disease, illness or injury. It is delivered by a doctor or other medical practitioner, and it can be physical or psychological. In general, the aim of medical treatment is to restore or maintain a normal state of health.
In some jurisdictions, medical treatment is regulated and governed by legal standards. This may include adherence to a code of ethics, as well as professional liability for medical malpractice. In some cases, the law can also dictate the terms of a medical contract between two parties.
There are different types of medical treatment, ranging from routine care to the most advanced and specialized forms of medicine. Each type of medical service is often provided by a team of highly trained health professionals, called an interdisciplinary team.
Primary care is the most common form of medical treatment, and it can be provided by physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals in physician offices, clinics, nursing homes, schools, and home visits. This form of medical treatment occurs in 90% of all medical visits and covers the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries, as well as preventive healthcare for both adults and children.
Secondary care is specialized medical treatment that can only be given by doctors or other health professionals in hospitals or medical institutions, usually for patients who have been diagnosed and treated by their primary care provider, or are referred from a primary care physician. Examples of specialized medical services are intensive care medicine, emergency departments, surgery services, endoscopy units, diagnostic laboratory and medical imaging services, labor and delivery, psychiatric hospitals, high-risk pregnancy facilities, and cancer care facilities.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments for certain diseases or conditions. These trials can take place at universities, medical centers, hospitals, clinics, and other Federally or industry-funded research sites.
The results of these studies can help improve the treatment of a specific condition or disease, and it can sometimes lead to a cure. Many of these studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, or the Federal government.
Some medical treatment is based on good evidence from the scientific literature and is considered a medical practice (also known as clinical practice or therapeutic practice). In some jurisdictions, it is legal to use evidence-based treatments in most cases.
Other forms of medical treatment are not based on good evidence, and they are considered to be unproven therapies. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to use unproven therapies.
These treatments include some drugs, devices, and medical procedures, as well as some surgical techniques. Those who perform these treatments can face charges of medical malpractice or be subject to civil, criminal, or professional sanctions.
There are also non-medical treatment options, including first aid and preventative measures. These may include tetanus and flu shots, as well as ointments, salves, antiseptics and dressings to minor injuries.
Most modern medical treatments are based on science, and many are influenced by knowledge of human genetics and evolution. For example, new medicines are now able to target specific physiological processes and some are designed for compatibility with the body to reduce side-effects.