A clinic is a medical facility where patients can get routine care, as well as specialist services. These clinics may be public or private. Some clinics are mobile and provide health care to rural areas. Others are attached to a medical school or hospital. Many medical clinics are owned and operated by corporations or nonprofit organizations.
Many medical clinics are independent of hospitals, but some operate in conjunction with hospitals and other health service providers. Community health clinics may also offer ancillary services such as translation and general health education. The aim of community clinics is to provide complete care to their patients. They are similar to free clinics in that they offer primary care, as well as care for chronic diseases.
Historically, clinics began as a way to treat patients outside of hospitals. Early public health clinics focused on child and maternal health and other medical problems affecting a large section of the population. In the late 19th century, A. Pinard set up an antenatal clinic in Paris. Other doctors and medical students began providing free care to patients at dispensaries. But the number of clinics did not grow as rapidly as it did in the following decades. As a result, there were only 132 clinics in 1890. The rapid expansion of hospitals and a public health movement created the need for more clinics.
There are many different types of clinics. Some specialize in particular areas of medicine, such as mental health and sexual health. Others focus on primary care for underserved communities. Still others offer more general services such as routine preventative care. Some clinics also provide mobile care. They may be part of a hospital, or they may be independent.
While family doctors are the primary care physician, many clinics are also equipped with specialists. Family doctors can provide treatment for many ailments and can even refer patients to specialists if needed. For athletes, sports injuries can be particularly difficult to avoid, but sports injury clinics provide specialized assessments and rehabilitation to speed up recovery. And for the general population, a visit to a clinic can be a quick and easy way to get back to your sport.
The best part about clinics is that they are much smaller than hospitals. They see fewer patients and do not charge for overnight stays. This is a huge benefit for patients who want to keep their health care costs down. A physician who practices in a clinic is usually less expensive than a physician practicing in a hospital.
Regardless of how a clinic operates, its success depends on its ability to educate patients. An educated patient can make the right decision regarding treatment for their condition.