A clinic is a health care facility that typically provides care to outpatients. They typically cover the primary health care needs of the residents in local communities, as opposed to hospitals who offer specialized treatments and admit inpatients for overnight stays. Clinics may be publicly or privately funded and operated. Clinics may be associated with hospitals or medical schools.
Clinics are typically associated with medical practice, run by general practitioners, nurses and/or nurse practitioners. They may also be specialized clinics. For instance, a psychology clinic is typically operated by clinical psychologists, and a physiotherapy clinic is typically operated by physiotherapists. Some countries, such as China and India, have some clinics run by specialists in traditional health practices, who do not have formal medical education. In India these traditional clinics offer ayurvedic medicine and unani herbal medical practice.
Several different types of clinics can provide outpatient services, and they may be publicly funded or private medical practices. A retail-based clinic is situated in retail outlets such as supermarkets and provides walk-in health care. A general out-patient clinic offers general diagnoses or treatments without an overnight stay. In contrast, a specialist clinic provides advanced diagnostic or treatment services to people for specific injuries, illnesses or diseases. Examples of specialist clinics include fertility clinics which help women and couples become pregnant, and an ambulatory surgery clinic, which offers less complicated same-day surgical procedures where individuals don’t have to spend the night.