Clinics are healthcare facilities that mainly focus on the care of outpatients and typically address the healthcare needs of the people in local areas. Clinics can be run by either general physicians or specialists in a particular field of medical science. Clinics have gained popularity among patients with minor ailments and where they need certain specialty services as well due to the ease and convenience of access they offer to the patients. Many people prefer visiting clinics rather than hospitals to avoid wasting time and money on big hospitals. Apart from this convenience aspect, clinics play a critical role in providing healthcare to the people residing in small towns and rural areas that do not have easy access to big hospitals and quality healthcare.
In such a scenario, clinics offer excellent small business opportunities to doctors but, management of clinics is not an easy job; while the number of doctors available in a clinic would be limited, there would be a steady stream of patients walking-in making it challenging to handle the operations efficiently. Maintenance of clinic premises, equipment, and very crucial patient records could get cumbersome for the clinic owner or management. Also, there are certain legal and statutory compliances that need to be met as part of due diligence per ‘The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010’.
As per the Clinical Establishments Act, various standards are prescribed for different types of allopathic clinics which include –
- Standards for clinic/polyclinic only consultation
- Standards for clinic/polyclinic with observation/short stay
- Standards for clinic/polyclinic with dispensary
- Standards for clinic/polyclinic with diagnostic support
- Standards for dietary counselling centre
- Standards for hospital (level 1, level 2, and level 3)
- Standards for mobile clinic only consultation
- Standards for mobile clinic with procedure
- Standards for mobile dental van
- Standards for dental lab
- Standards for physiotherapy centre
- Standards for wellness centre – executive health check-up
- Standards for integrated counselling and testing centre
- Standards for specialty/super-specialty specific
Apart from these standards, the government has prescribed standards, some of which are in the draft stage yet, for the clinical establishments of –
The Clinical Establishment Act (CEA) is applicable in a majority of the states and union territories. The states and union territories where CEA is not applicable have their own Act. Doctors or people who wish to establish any kind of healthcare establishment have to follow the standards or guidelines as prescribed by the central government or the respective state government and ensure that they are compliant with the legalities with respect to clinical establishments.