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Health Care: The Different Layers of Health Care


Primary care

Family physicians, pediatricians and general internists are trained to diagnose and treat more than 90 percent of the problems you may have. For the conditions they can't treat, they should be happy to help you receive whatever specialty care you may need. For most patients, the best choice for a health care coach and advocate will be a primary care physician.

Secondary care

Specialists are usually highly trained to care for a single organ system in their area of expertise. For example, cardiologists care for problems of the heart and blood vessels, and neurologists care for problems of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. For some patients, because of their type of problem, the best choice for a health care coach or advocate is a specialist.

Tertiary care

For those problems that occur rarely or for treatments that are new, a person is best treated in the large medical centers usually associated with medical schools, research centers or residency training programs. These centers conduct research and are usually up-to-date with the newest treatments, as well as any experimental treatments.

Taken with permission and adapted from 10 Essentials of Highly Healthy People by Walt Larimore, M.D. with Traci Mullins.

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