Difference Between Hospital and Clinic

The terms hospital and clinic are often used interchangeably. Both are different in function and size.


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A hospital is an institution that has all the facilities needed for patients. It has the infrastructural and technological capability to cater to the requirements of patients. There are strict rules and regulations in hospitals to which every staff adheres. Violations have serious repercussions.

In a clinic, there are limitations in facilities. It is small. A doctor will diagnose the patients and will offer the medication. A clinic doesn’t have a pharmacy or laboratory services.

A clinic offers routine medical care, medical attention, and preventive care facilities. Clinics offer services at a low cost. There are not many staffs, and outpatient services are only given.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hospitals are large, comprehensive medical facilities that provide a wide range of healthcare services, including emergency care, surgeries, and inpatient treatment. At the same time, clinics are smaller facilities that typically offer outpatient services and focus on specific types of care or patient populations.
  2. Hospitals usually have more specialized equipment, resources, and staff to handle complex medical cases and emergencies. In contrast, clinics often provide more routine or preventive care and may have shorter wait times and more personalized attention.
  3. The cost of care at hospitals can be significantly higher than at clinics due to their larger scale and the complexity of their services, making clinics a more affordable option for non-emergency care.

Hospital vs Clinic

The difference between a hospital and a clinic is that a hospital provides advanced facilities and has inpatient services. On the other hand, a clinic has mostly outpatient services and not many facilities. Patients can reside in a hospital for treatment, but it is not usually possible in a clinic.

Hospital vs Clinic

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Hospitals are large institutions that give medical treatment, diagnosing services, and facilitation for sick people. It has many staff members and various departments.

There are different sections for patient requirements. There are departments like ICU, maternity ward, inpatient and outpatient departments, and emergency department.

A clinic is a facility where people can get medical advice and treatment. The medical practitioner will give prescriptions and advice to the patients. It gives services to outpatients.

In a clinic, there are not many facilities for housing the patients. It may or may not have beds for patients. It has less number of staffs. It is much smaller than a hospital.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHospitalClinic
Services providedInpatient and outpatient servicesOutpatient services
DepartmentsMultiple departments are presentDepartments are absent

What is Hospital?

A hospital is an institution that aims at providing treatment for people who are ill or injured. It has many staffs and equipment necessary for diagnosing and treating any type of disease. Patients can get housing facilities as well. 

The origin of hospitals dates back to the 4th century BC. The Brahmanical hospitals and Roman hospitals can be considered as the ancient hospitals intended to treat injured soldiers.

Roman emperor Constantine is credited for the invention of the modern hospital concept. Its development was associated with Christianity. 

In developing countries, the perks of modern medicine and health care are not much experienced. But developed countries offer a multitude of facilities and widened treatment opportunities.

Highly trained staff services, quality, and efficiency have made modern hospitals expensive.

There are different types of hospitals. General hospitals handle various kinds of diseases and injuries. They have an emergency department to manage sudden issues. It is also called acute care hospital.

The district hospital is an expanded facility that aims at managing the issues of a region and gives health care services. Specialty hospitals focus only on certain areas of medical facilitation. For instance, there are hospitals designed only for cardiac care.

Inpatient, as well as outpatient services, are present in a hospital. Nursing care, special care, and medical supplies are available in a hospital. A pharmacy and laboratory service are generally present in hospitals.

Hospitals are an unavoidable part of any society. It has medical and social importance.

What is Clinic?

Clinics are health care-providing facilities. It has mostly outpatient services. It is for covering the basic health care requirements of people. It is not necessarily connected with a hospital.

It can be privately owned or publicly managed. Usually, the clinic is operated by a few medical practitioners.

The word clinic has its roots in the Greek language. There are specialty clinics as well. Practitioners in various fields offer specialty services through their clinics. A typical example would be the physical therapy clinics run by physiotherapists.

There are in-house clinics and roadside dispensaries that give health care services. Such clinics often follow traditional medicine.

Clinics run by single practitioners are usually intended for profit. But clinics funded by the government aims at providing affordable healthcare to the public.

There are outpatient clinics similar to hospitals. Mobile clinics offer healthcare services in remote areas.

There are different types of clinics. The general clinic has diagnostic services and outpatient treatments. A specialist clinic has advanced outpatient services. Treatment and other services are only given to patients with specific conditions.

Sexual health clinics, fertility clinics, and mental health clinics are examples of specialty clinics.

Main Differences Between Hospital and Clinic

  1. Hospitals have a large number of staff, including nurses, medical practitioners, surgeons, and technical teams. But a clinic is usually managed by a single medical practitioner.
  2. Inpatient and outpatient services are present in hospitals. While a clinic doesn’t have inpatient facilities. Only outpatient services are provided in a clinic.
  3. Hospitals provide 24/7 services. But a clinic is open for a few hours.
  4. There are many departments in a hospital. On the other hand, a clinic has no departments.
  5. Hospitals have a pharmacy, inpatient facilities, and mortuary. A clinic doesn’t have such facilities.
  6. The term hospital is derived from Latin. While the clinic has its roots in Greek.
Hospital vs Clinic – Difference Between Hospital and Clinic
  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199302113280612
  2. https://ceramics.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1151-2916.1991.tb07132.x
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