Gathering a health care dream team

How to get specialty care when you need it.


Your primary care doctor can take care of most medical problems. But there are times when you may need to see a specialist.

What is a specialist?

A specialist is someone who has more training with a specific health problem.


Need a specialist?


Talk to your primary care doctor.

Find care in your state


What does a specialist do?

Let’s say you’re having sleep problems. Your doctor may send you to a sleep specialist. Your specialist will dig deeper into why you’re not sleeping well. Sometimes, this can include ordering lab tests or a sleep study to learn more.


What kind of specialists are there?

There are more than 135 medical specialties. Specialists include:

  • Cardiologist (heart)
  • Dermatologist (skin)
  • Dietitian (help with healthy eating)
  • Endocrinologist (for blood sugar problems)
  • Gynecologist (women’s health)
  • Nephrologist (kidney)
  • Oncologist (cancer)
  • Physical therapy (to ease pain and help you move better)
  • Podiatrist (feet)
  • Pulmonologist (for breathing problems) 

Your doctor and specialist work as a team

Think of your doctor and your specialist as your health care team. And the team’s goal is your health and well-being. Your doctor will:

  • Find the right specialist for your needs.
  • Help make your appointment with a specialist.
  • Build a care plan with your specialist based on your personal needs.
  • Work closely with your specialist so you get the care you need when you need it.

Remember, getting to the root of a health problem can take time. But your doctor and specialist are there to listen and to help. Don’t hesitate to speak up when you need to.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.