A clinic (or an outpatient clinic) is a small private or public health facility that is devoted to the care of outpatients, often in a community, in contrast to larger hospitals, which also treat inpatients.
General practice clinics are run by one or more general practitioners or equally qualified persons. Health care in India, China, Russia and Africa is provided to vast rural areas by mobile health clinics or roadside dispensaries, some of which integrate traditional health practices. In India these traditional clinics provide ayurvedic medicine and unani herbal medical practice. In each of these countries traditional medicine tends to be an hereditary practice.
The function of clinics will differ from country to country. For instance, a local general practice run by a single general practitioner will provide primary health care, and will usually be run as a for-profit business by the owner whereas a government specialist clinic may provide subsidized specialized health care.
Some clinics function as a place for people with injuries or illnesses to come and be seen by triage nurse or other health worker.
Doctors at such clinics can often refer patients to specialists if the need arises.
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