health care facility, primarily focused on the care of outpatients

A clinic is a medical facility that gives health care for patients in an area. It is different from a hospital, because people do not stay in a clinic for a long time. Some clinics can become as large as hospitals, but still have the name Clinic. Small clinics are run by one or more general practitioners or practice managers. Physiotherapy clinics are run by physiotherapists, psychology clinics run by clinical psychologists, and so on for each type of health care. Some clinics are operated, or run, by employers. Other clinics are owned by people who do not have medical education, like in China.

A medpunkt (health care access point) delivers primary health care to the residents of the village of Veliki Vrag in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia
The entrance to a surgery clinic in Greenwich, London.

Some clinics are a place for people with injuries or illness to come and be seen by triage nurse or other health worker. In these clinics, the injury or illness may not be large or dangerous enough to warrant a visit to an emergency room, but the person can be moved to one if they need to be. These clinics sometimes can use equipment such as X-ray machines. Doctors at these clinics can send patients to specialists, a doctor who is very good at one kind of medicine.

Where the word came from


The word clinic comes from the Greek word klinein, which means to put something at an angle, or to lie down. Latin has the word clinicus, which is a lot like the word we use today.[1] An early meaning of the word clinic was, 'one who gets baptism on a sick bed'.[2]

Types of clinics



  1. 'Origins - a short etymological dictionary of modern English' by Eric Partridge Book club associates 1966
  2. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 )