From specialized treatments to community service, teaching hospitals offer it all. Also known as academic medical centers, these institutions provide training for new medical professionals under the direction of experienced doctors and nurses.
Providing care as a team
Teaching hospital patients have the benefit of being treated by a team of doctors, nurses, and medical students. Although medical students may provide some of your care, an experienced doctor will review and approve all of your treatment. Additionally, teaching hospitals are involved in the research and development of new treatments and cures. This means patients receive the most advanced and appropriate treatment even for complex or rare conditions.
In fact, many patients get transferred to teaching hospitals when their medical needs are too complex for other facilities. Many teaching hospitals offer specialized treatments for certain types of care, such as burn care, trauma care, surgical transplants, and pediatric intensive care. According to the American Hospital Association, teaching hospitals cared for 91 percent of all pediatric intensive care patients and 96 percent of all burn patients in 2007.
Excellent routine care
But even if you don't have a serious medical problem, you can benefit from visiting a teaching hospital. A review of 23 studies that compared teaching hospitals to nonteaching hospitals found that teaching hospitals provided better care for both routine and complex problems.
And, if you ever need medical tests or treatment for a more serious problem, you can find these services all under the same roof.
Community health services
Teaching hospitals also serve their patients and the larger community by offering important services that many other hospitals do not, including:
Health fairs that offer medical tests and screenings
Support groups for various medical conditions
Patient information centers
Community services, such as AIDS services, nutritional programs, senior services, and crisis prevention
Research to help find new ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat illnesses
Charity care for those who don't have insurance.