What is an outpatient clinic?

Ear infections can be treated in an outpatient setting.

The term outpatient clinic can refer to many different medical facilities. They may have highly specialized types of care or they may offer general care such as urgent care units. These clinics can be called “outpatient clinics” because they are linked to hospitals, but they do not serve those who need to stay overnight. However, this type of clinic does not need to share facilities with a hospital, and some are not located on hospital campuses.

Outpatient clinics can work with specific populations, such as soldiers returning home from war.

Some of the most common types of outpatient clinics are urgent care centers and aim to provide a convenient and less expensive way to receive care for minor illnesses and injuries. Instead of using an emergency room for things like a sudden ear infection, people can use a clinic that offers urgent care. These clinics are run by doctors and nurses, as well as many other medical specialists, and can quickly take care of most minor problems. Urgent care clinics vary in hours, and some may be open late into the night, often longer hours than offered by physicians’ offices. Many of these clinics are located on hospital campuses, but may not be located in the main hospital building or buildings.

Cardiology clinics may offer cardiology testing services such as EKGs and stress tests.

Rather than practicing general medicine, an outpatient clinic may be designed to practice some form of specialized medicine. There are many such clinics, which may or may not be located in hospitals. Some clinics exist to work with patients taking blood thinners such as Coumadin® and may be called blood thinner clinics. Other examples include cardiology clinics, which may offer cardiology testing services such as echocardiograms, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and stress tests.

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Some outpatient clinics are highly specialized.

Sometimes specialists see patients in a clinic once a week or once a month. On these designated days, care is given to patients who do not require inpatient hospital services. For example, a pediatric neurologist who practices primarily in a hospital would use his clinic to follow up with the patients he is treating. Clinic hours and days would depend on the degree of need for outpatient care and the number of patients. While these services may take place in a hospital, they still provide outpatient services.

Some outpatient clinics specialize in women’s health issues.

Other types of outpatient clinics may work with certain populations. For example, there are clinics that work specifically with veterans who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As this population may have unique issues, having a clinic dedicated to these issues can be of great help. It provides a way to make treatment consistent across all participating people and to gather information about needs common to that group.

Outpatient clinic types exist in many variations. This includes clinics that cater to the needs of those in need of physical therapy, facilities that specialize in women’s health issues, and clinics dedicated to caring for people who are unable to pay for services. They all share a common element; are intended to care for people who are not currently hospitalized.

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