Tips & Advice
Do medical centers provide specialty care?
Academic medical centers provide the widest range of specialty care treatments, including the latest technological advances, clinical trials, and surgical techniques. In general, an academic medical center is a better choice than a community hospital for complicated treatments or rare diseases. Pediatric intensive care, especially, is usually performed at academic medical centers.
What are the types of specialists found at academic medical centers?
Academic medical centers offer a broad range of specialized services, from allergists to urologists. Some of the larger medical centers have entire hospitals or clinics focused on a particular medical service, such as cancer treatment, though specialties vary among the centers. Patients whose community hospital or local doctors do not have the facilities or expertise to address complex medical conditions can be referred by their primary care physician or local specialist to a major medical center (there are more than a dozen in the United States).
Do medical centers offer outpatient services?
Yes. In addition to their inpatient hospital services, medical centers can offer a wide variety of outpatient services, such as pain clinics, rehabilitation centers, surgery, imaging and laboratory, mental health treatment, and outpatient cancer treatment. Medical groups – doctors in private practice but affiliated with the medical center--will also have offices within the medical center.
What types of medical professionals usually staff a medical center?
Physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, residents, and attending physicians makeup the clinical staff of an academic medical center.
Do medical centers need accreditation?
Medical center accreditation is not required, but most centers work voluntarily toward accreditation because it represents higher standards of healthcare quality and patient safety.
How are medical centers different from hospitals?
A hospital is part of a medical center if it is affiliated with a university, but a medical center will also include doctors’ offices and a medical school. Hospitals provide short-term care for severe health issues. Medical centers can include longer-term and experimental treatments not found in community hospitals. Both can include either inpatient or outpatient care.
How are medical centers different from urgent care centers?
A medical center can provide a full array of medical treatments and services because it includes both doctors’ offices and a hospital with a 24-hour emergency room. Potentially life-threatening symptoms should be seen at a hospital. An urgent care center (often called a “walk-in clinic”) provides basic-level outpatient care without an appointment and has fixed hours. An urgent care center might be affiliated with a medical center, but many are not.
Do medical centers provide laboratory services?
Many medical centers provide laboratory services “in house,” others outsource their lab services to a separate, for-profit company, and some develop joint ventures between the hospital and an outside lab. Outside companies may still own the lab that is physically on-site at a medical center. It’s worth asking who owns the lab, because it might or might not be “in network” on your insurance plan.
Are patients always able to see the same doctor at a medical center?
Patients of doctors in private practice or clinics at the medical center can expect to see the same doctor regularly. Hospital inpatients may also see other doctors over the course of their stay, during hospital rounds or if multiple specialists are needed for treatment.
What is an academic medical center?
An academic medical center is a combined medical school and university-based hospital, also called a “teaching hospital.” Academic medical centers combine education, research, and clinical care. They use technologies, resources and therapies that may not be available at other hospitals.