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Different Types of Hospitals

Posted by Capson Team on Feb 4, 2019 9:22:00 AM

Different Types of Hospitals

In the healthcare ecosystem, there are many different types of institutions that provide care to patients. We are going to use varied criteria to categorize the types of hospitals.

Table of Contents:

  1. Functionality
  2. Ownership
  3. Goal
  4. Network
  5. Size
  6. Community
  7. Location


General — A general hospital is equipped to handle the health needs of the general surrounding community, including common surgeries and illnesses.

Teaching — Teaching hospitals are often located within university systems or affiliated with specific universities or medical or nursing schools. They have the purpose of training the next generation of doctors and health care staffers. They employ medical students, residents, nurses-in-training, and more.

Research — Research hospitals often, but not always, overlap with teaching hospitals and/or specialized hospitals. They can be affiliated with a university or be independent. They can either do research in a variety of areas or can specialize in researching a cure or treatment alternatives for a certain condition or set of conditions. St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital is a great example of the latter.

District — District hospitals are dedicated to being the premier care centers with the most resources for serving the population of a geographical region, rather than a city or town.

Specialized — Specialized hospitals focus on one specific area of medicine, with the goal of providing exemplary care in one field that is unparalleled elsewhere. Specializations include women's health, cardiology, or pediatrics.

Clinics — Clinics, including private practices or urgent care centers, generally house one to a handful of doctors, often specialists or primary care physicians. They are notable for their small size.


For profit — Private hospitals are operated for profit, often by corporations or groups of investors.

Not for profit — The majority of hospitals are not run for profit, however. These types of hospitals are either run by organizations or local, state, or federal governments.


Acute — Acute care hospitals focus on care for patients requiring a short stay, often for conditions, illnesses, injuries, and surgeries that are relatively easy and quickly resolved. Acute care hospitals also provide care for emergencies. Over 90% of hospitals are acute care facilities.

Long-term — Long-term facilities provide health care for chronic illnesses, necessary rehabilitation, or lengthy psychiatric care. Examples include burn centers or oncology facilities.


Independent — Independent hospitals are not affiliated with other hospitals. However, they can be members of networks. System — Systems of hospitals are hospitals administered from a main location but have one or more satellite locations. Network — Hospital networks are groups of hospital institutions that collaborate to provide comprehensive care.


Small — A generally accepted definition of a small hospital is one that has fewer than 100 beds.

Medium — Medium-sized hospitals include facilities that have between 100 and 500 beds.

Large — Large hospitals are hospitals that have over 500 beds.


Community — Community hospitals provide care to the general population — to everyone who requires its facilities. Local hospitals are the best examples of community hospitals.

Specific population — Some hospitals do not provide care for the community, they are hospitals that provide care to a specific segment of the population. Many teaching hospitals qualify, as well as many federal (such as Veterans Affairs) hospitals.


Rural — Rural hospitals are located in areas away from city life. Unfortunately, rural hospitals often have a stark contrast in funding compared to urban hospitals, and thus notably have fewer resources. This can lead to an inequity in patient care which is exacerbated by medical deserts.

Urban — Urban hospitals are located in cities and urban centers. They generally house many more resources due to much more funding than rural hospitals. However, there can even be stark contrasts between the funding among urban hospitals. This is due to the poverty in some parts of cities which impacts the ability of patients to pay for care at their neighborhood hospital.

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Tags: Healthcare Trends