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A clinic (or outpatient clinic or ambulatory care clinic) is a
health facility in Hartford, Connecticut Hartford is the List of capitals in the United States, capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County, Connecticut, Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 19 ...
that is primarily focused on the care of
outpatients A patient is any recipient of health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injur ...
. Clinics can be privately operated or publicly managed and funded. They typically cover the
primary care Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not mer ...
needs of populations in local communities, in contrast to larger
hospital A hospital is a institution providing treatment with specialized and staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which typically has an to treat urgent health problems ranging from fire and accide ...

hospital
s which offer more specialised treatments and admit
inpatients A patient is any recipient of health care services that are performed by healthcare professionals. The patient is most often Disease, ill or Major trauma, injured and in need of therapy, treatment by a physician, nurse, psychologist, dentist, ve ...
for overnight stays. Most commonly, the English word clinic refers to a
general practice General practice is the name given in various nations, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to the services provided by General practitioners. In some nations, such as the US, similar services may be described as famil ...
, run by one or more
general practitioner In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor A physician (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties ...
s offering small therapeutic treatments, but it can also mean a specialist clinic. Some clinics retain the name "clinic" even while growing into institutions as large as major hospitals or becoming associated with a hospital or
medical school A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians and surgeons. Such medical degrees include the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surge ...
.


Etymology

The word ''clinic'' derives from Ancient Greek ''klinein'' meaning to slope, lean or recline. Hence ''klinē'' is a couch or bed and ''klinikos'' is a physician who visits his patients in their beds. In Latin, this became ''clīnicus''. An early use of the word clinic was "one who receives baptism on a sick bed".


Overview

Clinics are often associated with a general medical practice run by one or several
general practitioner In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor A physician (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties ...
s. Other types of clinics are run by the type of specialist associated with that type:
physical therapy
physical therapy
clinics by
physiotherapist
physiotherapist
s and psychology clinics by
clinical psychologists Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being Well-being, also ...
, and so on for each health profession. (This can even hold true for certain services outside the medical field: for example,
legal clinic A legal clinic (also law clinic or law school clinic) is a legal aid or law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becom ...
s are run by
lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigat ...

lawyer
s.) Some clinics are operated in-house by employers, government organizations, or hospitals, and some clinical services are outsourced to private corporations which specialize in providing health services. In
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...
, for example, owners of such clinics do not have formal medical education. There were 659,596 village clinics in China in 2011. Health care in
India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on the south, the on the southwest, and the on the southeast, it shares land borders wit ...
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
and
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total surface area and 20% of its land area.Sayre ...

Africa
is provided to those regions' vast rural areas by mobile health clinics or roadside
dispensaries A dispensary is an office in a school, hospital A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, wh ...
, some of which integrate
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traditional medicine
. In India these traditional clinics provide
ayurvedic Ayurveda () is an alternative medicine Alternative medicine is any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and mana ...

ayurvedic
medicine and
unani Unani or Yunani medicine (Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing system A writing system is a method ...
herbal medical practice. In each of these countries,
traditional medicine 250px, Jamaica_Plain.html"_;"title="Botánicas_such_as_this_one_in_Jamaica_Plain">Botánicas_such_as_this_one_in_Jamaica_Plain,_Boston,_cater_to_the_Hispanic_and_Latino_Americans.html" "title="Jamaica_Plain,_Boston.html" ;"title="Jamaica_Plain.h ...

traditional medicine
tends to be a hereditary practice.


Function

The function of clinics differs from country to country. For instance, a local general practice run by a single general practitioner provides
primary health care Primary health care, or PHC, refers to "essential health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disea ...
and is usually run as a for-profit business by the owner, whereas a government-run specialist clinic may provide subsidised or specialised health care. Some clinics serve as a place for people with injuries or illnesses to be seen by a
triage Triage () is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments by the severity of their condition or likelihood of recovery with and without treatment. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for ...

triage
nurse or other
health worker A health professional (or healthcare professional) may provide health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or ...
. In these clinics, the injury or illness may not be serious enough to require a visit to an
emergency room An emergency department (ED), also known as an accident & emergency department (A&E), emergency room (ER), emergency ward (EW) or casualty department, is a medical treatment facility specializing in emergency medicine#REDIRECT Emergency medicine ...

emergency room
(ER), but the person can be transferred to one if needed. Treatment at these clinics is often less expensive than it would be at a casualty department. Also, unlike an ER these clinics are often not open on a 24/7/365 basis. They sometimes have access to diagnostic equipment such as
X-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motio ...

X-ray
machines, especially if the clinic is part of a larger facility. Doctors at such clinics can often refer patients to specialists if the need arises.


Large outpatient clinics

Large outpatient clinics vary in size, but can be as large as
hospital A hospital is a institution providing treatment with specialized and staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which typically has an to treat urgent health problems ranging from fire and accide ...

hospital
s.


Function

Typical large outpatient clinics house general medical practitioners (GPs) such as
doctors Doctor or The Doctor may refer to: Personal titles * Doctor (title), the holder of an accredited academic degree * A medical practitioner, including: ** Physician ** Surgeon *Other roles ** Doctor of the Church, a title given to those with g ...

doctors
and
nurse Nursing is a profession within the health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''qual ...

nurse
s to provide
ambulatory careAmbulatory care or outpatient care is medical care provided on an outpatient basis, including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services. This care can include advanced medical technology Health techno ...
and some
acute care Acute care is a branch of health care#Secondary Care, secondary health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery.Alberta Heal ...
services but lack the major surgical and pre- and post-operative care facilities commonly associated with hospitals. Besides GPs, if a clinic is a
polyclinic A polyclinic (where ''poly'' means "many"; not to be confused with the homonym policlinic, where ''poli'' means "city" and which is sometimes used for a hospital's outpatient department) is a clinic or health care facility that provides both gene ...
, it can house outpatient departments of some medical specialties, such as
gynecology Gynaecology or gynecology (see American and British English spelling differences, spelling differences) is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system. Almost all modern gynaecologists are also obstetrics, obst ...
,
dermatology Dermatology is the branch of medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the f ...
,
ophthalmology Ophthalmology () is a branch of medicine and surgery that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a physician who Specialty (medicine), specializes in ophthalmology. The credentials include a degree i ...
,
otolaryngology Otorhinolaryngology ( ; abbreviated ORL; also called otolaryngology; other terms include otolaryngology–head and neck surgery (ORL–H&N, OHNS) and ear, nose, and throat, often called ENT) is a surgical subspecialty within medicine that de ...
,
neurology Neurology (from el, , "string, nerve" and the suffix , "study of") is a branch of dealing with . Neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of conditions and disease involving the and s (and their subdivisions, the ...
,
pulmonology Pulmonology (, , from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
,
cardiology Cardiology (from Ancient Greek, Greek ''kardiā'', "heart" and ''wikt:-logia, -logia'', "study") is a branch of medicine that deals with the disorders of the heart as well as some parts of the circulatory system. The field includes medical dia ...
, and
endocrinology Endocrinology (from ''endocrine system, endocrine'' + ''wikt:-logy#Suffix, -ology'') is a branch of biology and medicine dealing with the endocrine system, its diseases, and its specific secretions known as hormones. It is also concerned with the ...
. In some university cities, polyclinics contain outpatient departments for the entire teaching hospital in one building.


Internationally

Large outpatient clinics are a common type of healthcare facility in many countries, including France, Germany (long tradition), Switzerland, and most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (often using a mixed Soviet-German model), as well as in former Soviet republics such as Russia and Ukraine; and in many countries across Asia and Africa. In Europe, especially in the Central and Eastern Europe, bigger outpatient health centres, commonly in cities and towns, are called policlinics (derived from the word polis, not from poly-). Recent Russian governments have attempted to replace the policlinic model introduced during Soviet times with a more western model. However, this has failed. In
Czechia The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...

Czechia
, many policlinics were privatized or leasehold and decentralized in the post-communist era: some of them are just lessors and coordinators of a healtcare provided by private doctor's offices in the policlinic building. India has also set up huge numbers of polyclinics for former defence personnel. The network envisages 426 polyclinics in 343 districts of the country which will benefit about 33 lakh (3.3 million) ex-servicemen residing in remote and far-flung areas. Polyclinics are also the backbone of Cuba's primary care system and have been credited with a role in improving that nation's health indicators.Cuba’s primary health care revolution: 30 years on, ''Bulletin of the World Health Organization''
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Mobile clinics

Providing health services through mobile clinics provides accessible healthcare services to these remote areas that have yet to make their way in the politicized space. For example, mobile clinics have proved helpful in dealing with new settlement patterns in Costa Rica. Before foreign aid organizations or the state government became involved in healthcare, Costa Rica's people managed their own health maintenance and protection. People relied on various socio-cultural adaptations and remedies to prevent illnesses, such as personal hygiene and settlement patterns. When new settlements that sprang up along the coast became "artificial" communities, and due to lack of traditional home healing practices here, alternative methods such as mobile clinics had to be implemented in these communities for the protection and prevention of diseases. A study done in rural Namibia revealed the health changes of orphans, vulnerable children and non-vulnerable children (OVC) visiting a mobile clinic where health facilities are far from the remote villages. Over 6 months, information on immunization status, diagnosis of anemia, skin and intestinal disorders, nutrition, dental disorders was collected and showed that visits to mobile clinics improved the overall health of children that visited regularly. It concluded that specified "planning of these programs in areas with similarly identified barriers may help correct the
health disparities Health equity arises from access to the social determinants of health, specifically from wealth, power and prestige. Individuals who have consistently been deprived of these three determinants are significantly disadvantaged from health inequities ...
among Namibian OVC and could be a first step in improving child morbidity and mortality in difficult-to-reach rural areas."
Food supplement A dietary supplement is a manufactured product intended to supplement one's diet by taking a pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid. A supplement can provide nutrient A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and ...
ation in the context of routine mobile clinic visits also shows to have improved the nutritional status of children, and it needs further exploration as a way to reduce childhood
malnutrition Malnutrition is 'a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effect on tissue and body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical ou ...
in resource-scarce areas. A cross-sectional study focussed on comparing acute and chronic undernutrition rates prior to and after a food-supplementation program as an adjunct to routine health care for children of migrant workers residing in rural communities in the Dominican Republic. Rates of chronic undernutrition decreased from 33% to 18% after the initiation of the food-supplementation program and shows that the community members attending the mobile clinics are not just passively receiving the information but are incorporating it and helping keep their children nourished.


Types

There are many different types of clinics providing outpatient services. Such clinics may be public (government-funded) or private medical practices. * A
CLSC CLSCs (''centre local de services communautaires'', local community service centre) in Quebec are free clinics run and maintained by the Quebec government. They are a form of Community health centres in Canada, community health centre. The service ...
are in
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
; they are a type of free clinic funded by the provincial government; they provide service not covered by
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
's healthcare plan including social workers * In the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, a
free clinic A free clinic or walk in clinic is a health care facility in Hartford, Connecticut. A hospital is one common type of health facility. Image:2008-09-02 NC Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat in Durham.jpg, An eye, ear, nose, and throat clinic in Durham, No ...
provides free or low-cost healthcare for those without insurance. * A retail-based clinic is housed in supermarkets and similar retail outlets providing walk-in health care, which may be staffed by
nurse practitioners A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse and a type of mid-level practitioner. NPs are trained to assess patient needs, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, diagnose disease, formulate and prescribe tr ...
. * A general out-patient clinic offers general diagnoses or treatments without an overnight stay. * A
polyclinic A polyclinic (where ''poly'' means "many"; not to be confused with the homonym policlinic, where ''poli'' means "city" and which is sometimes used for a hospital's outpatient department) is a clinic or health care facility that provides both gene ...
or policlinic provides a range of healthcare services (including diagnostics) without need of an overnight stay * A specialist clinic provides advanced diagnostic or treatment services for specific diseases or parts of the body. This type contrasts with general out-patient clinics. ** A
sexual health clinic Sexual health clinics specialize in the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infection An infection is the inv ...
deals with sexual health related problems, such as prevention and treatment of
sexually transmitted infections Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multipl ...
. ** A
fertility clinic Fertility clinics are medical clinics that assist couples, and sometimes individuals, who want to become parents but for medical reasons have been unable to achieve this goal via the natural course. Clinics apply a number of diagnosis tests and s ...
aims to help women and couples to become pregnant. ** An
abortion clinic An abortion clinic is a medical facility that provides abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers, private medical practices or nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Statistics Canada *There were 197 abortion providers ...
is a medical facility providing
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...

abortion
services to women. ** An ambulatory surgery clinic offers outpatient or same day surgery services, usually for surgical procedures less complicated than those requiring hospitalization. **An ultrasound clinic offers
medical ultrasound Medical ultrasound includes diagnostic Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnosis is used in many different disciplines, with variations in the use of logic Logic is an interdisciplinary ...

medical ultrasound
investigations for patients. An ultrasound clinic is normally run privately.


See also

* Healthcare provider *
Health center Image:Valkyrie-Road-PC-centre-NVDAYFOUR1761.jpg, upright=1.3, An NHS health center in the United Kingdom (Murphy Philipps Architects) A healthcare center, health center, or community health center is one of a network of clinics staffed by a group of ...

Health center
* Health systems management *
Healthcare system A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or as healthcare system, is the organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an ins ...
* Nurse-led clinic *
Polyclinics in England Polyclinics in England were intended to offer a greater range of services than were offered by current general practitioner (GP) practices and local health centres. In addition to traditional GP services they would offer extended urgent care, heal ...
*
Walk-in clinic A walk-in clinic (also known as a walk-in centre) is a medical facility that accepts patients on a walk-in basis and with no appointment required. A number of Health professional, healthcare service providers fall under the walk-in clinic umbrella ...


References

{{Authority control Types of health care facilities