Hospitals are institutions dedicated to the care of patients. They are generally staffed by professional medical personnel, such as physicians, nurses and other specialists. Patients may be admitted to the hospital for a variety of reasons. Some patients stay in the hospital for treatment, while others are discharged and go on to outpatient treatment.
Hospitals can be nonprofit or for-profit. Operating costs are typically paid through public funds, private endowments or out-of-pocket payments from patients. The operating costs for hospitals vary widely, depending on the type of facility and the services it provides.
Hospitals are often located in cities, towns and communities. Some are owned by municipalities, religious organizations, or the government. Many are also associated with universities, or other educational institutions.
Today’s hospitals provide a wide range of services, including outpatient, emergency and rehabilitation services. In addition, hospitals are often used for research and education. Sometimes they are designated as teaching hospitals. Teaching hospitals train future doctors. Others may offer specialized care for more severely ill patients.
Hospitals are an essential part of the health system. Their ability to admit inpatients makes them distinct from clinics, which are primarily ambulatory facilities. Modern hospitals also offer psychiatric services, rehabilitation programs and day surgery.
Hospitals were founded by religious groups and by public-spirited individuals. In Europe, hospitals were a way to meet the social needs of the community. During the Middle Ages, the concept of institutional health care gained popularity. Until Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries in 1540, churches were responsible for the care of the sick. However, by the late 16th century, secular authorities began to support institutions that served similar functions.
Hospitals were also used as a place of hospitality. This is in part the root of the word hospes, meaning a “guest-chamber.” Historically, some hospitals were devoted to serving the poor. Moreover, hospitals are notable for their ability to accommodate patients of all religions and races.
In the United States, Pennsylvania Hospital is the earliest public hospital in the country. The first surgical amphitheatre was built at the hospital. Additionally, it is home to America’s first medical library. It also offers academic credit for attendance.
Hospitals are vital in the development of the health system. They support the referral network and have a critical role in community outreach. These institutions are also key to the integration of healthcare. Increasingly, managers are concerned about the cost of hospital care and the quality of service.
Hospitals are a complex institution. The costs of building and operating them are almost universally funded by governmental contributions. Hospitals are often not-for-profit and their costs are sometimes covered by private sources, such as insurance carrier funds.
Hospitals are not only important for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, but they are also essential to the development of a health system. They play a key role in the delivery of home-based services. As medical research has increased the amount of new instrumentation and treatments available, they have become more expensive to operate.