What Is a Hospital?


A hospital is a building that is built specifically to provide treatment for sick people. It may also be a facility used for teaching or research. Today, hospitals are important parts of the health care system. They are complex institutions that require a great deal of organization.

Hospitals are also a key component in care coordination. By concentrating scarce resources within referral networks, hospitals can respond effectively to the needs of a population. The services offered at a hospital include diagnosis, therapy, medication, and allied health services. Some patients need intensive medical attention, and they are treated in special units such as the surgical step-down unit or the floor unit. These units may be operated by a number of doctors, including a resident, a registrar, and an intern.

Many hospitals are owned by the government, but others are private or for-profit. They may be located in a community or county, or they may be specialized. They are often affiliated with universities, hospitals, or other health care facilities.

Several factors determine a hospital’s size. They can range from as small as a single room to as large as a dozen or more. Their operating costs are usually covered by insurance carrier funds and public or private funds. Uninsured patients may have to pay out-of-pocket.

In addition to providing patient care, hospitals are often important centres for clinical research. Modern technology has expanded the range of medical treatments available. However, specialized facilities and highly trained staff are required for more involved treatments.

Some hospitals specialize in particular health care fields, such as obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics, or rehabilitation. They are especially attractive to physicians with particular interests. Most physicians choose a specialty for personal reasons.

A hospital may be a long-term or short-term facility. Patients who stay in a long-term facility have ongoing needs for care, such as rehabilitation after an accident or chronic illness. Short-term hospitals, on the other hand, admit the majority of patients for a limited amount of time, usually less than 30 days.

Many modern hospitals also offer outpatient clinics, and they often have rehabilitation and emergency departments. There are also cancer centers that specialize in treating patients with cancer.

Patients who are unable to be admitted to a hospital or who have other medical conditions, such as mental disorders, can receive treatment at a home hospital. If they are unable to be discharged from the hospital, they can be transferred to a long-term facility.

The history of hospital construction dates back to the 5th century. During the Middle Ages, many cities supported institutional health care, and a growing number of hospitals were founded. Although the term “hospital” was first used by the Romans in the first century CE, the idea of treating patients in a special facility originated with the Christian church. When the Roman empire was divided, the bishops of Rome established a system of hospitals that provided treatment for injured soldiers.

In the 15th and early 16th centuries, many religious groups, including the Benedictines, founded more than 2,000 hospitals in Europe. Many of these were noted for their ability to accept patients of all faiths.