Clinics are healthcare facilities that offer consultation, diagnostic services, treatment, and recovery follow-ups to patients. They are often smaller in size than a hospital system, which allows physicians and medical teams to get to know their patients on a more personal level. This can lead to a greater sense of trust between patient and doctor, which in turn makes the entire treatment process more efficient. In addition, nonsurgical treatments are becoming increasingly popular as people look to avoid general anesthesia and invasive procedures.
Clinics can be private, government-owned or operated, or community-based. Government-owned or funded clinics are called polyclinics and typically provide low or no-cost healthcare to patients who cannot afford more expensive options. Private clinics are generally owned by physicians and may be affiliated with hospitals. In the United States, many federally-funded community health centers are located in towns and cities across the country and specialize in improving access to primary care for underserved communities.
Historically, clinics were established as a way to allow doctors to see multiple patients simultaneously. For instance, the first dispensary in London was founded in 1696 as a central hub to give out medicines that doctors were already treating their patients at home. Over time, these clinics grew in popularity as a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to traveling to a hospital for healthcare.
Today, many people choose to visit a clinic when they have an illness that requires quick treatment and recovery. The specialized staff and doctors at a clinic are able to get patients in and out quickly. Clinics also focus on using minimally invasive methods so that the patient can return to their daily lives much sooner.
A clinic can be a part of a larger hospital, but it can also be a separate entity that has its own medical team and support staff. A smaller clinic can be more intimate, which allows doctors and patients to develop a stronger bond, while still providing excellent healthcare. This type of clinic can be especially beneficial to patients who need to get in and out of the office fast for work, as it can minimize the number of missed work hours due to illness or injury.
Some larger companies began offering on-site clinics in the 1980s as a benefit to their employees, especially for those who work in high-risk industries. These clinics can help to reduce the amount of money that is lost by the company when an employee misses work due to illness or injury. In addition, the on-site clinician can facilitate communication between human resources and the employee regarding the medical needs that may be necessary to get them back to work more quickly.
Running a private clinic can be rewarding, but it is not without its challenges. Private clinic owners must deal with a variety of issues, including determining how to market their practice, choosing which areas of medicine to specialize in, and setting the bar for what standards they want their clinic to live up to. Many private clinics are able to overcome these hurdles by reaching out to other small business owners in their area and learning from their experiences.