What is a hospital?

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), a hospital is a licensed institution with at least six beds and a primary function of providing diagnostic and therapeutic patient services for various medical conditions. Hospitals have an organized physician staff and provide continuous nursing services supervised by registered nurses.

To add to this definition, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that a hospital must be permanently staffed by at least one physician and able to offer inpatient accommodations.

Hospitals can be classified by ownership, service type, length of stay, and number of beds.

Some types of hospitals include:
-    community hospitals
-    registered hospitals
-    short-stay hospitals
-    special hospitals
-    federal/government hospitals
-    research hospitals

Why are hospitals essential for healthcare?

Hospitals are important for healthcare because they concentrate care services to effectively and efficiently treat various acute and chronic health conditions. They are an essential part of the healthcare system and play a role in improving and developing new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases.

Most hospitals feature a large assortment of specialized technologies, devices, and laboratories that allow them to diagnose and treat an extensive array of health conditions. For example, a hospital may have an emergency room to treat life-threatening acute conditions but also a cancer center that offers various oncological therapies.