General Vs Specialized Hospital: What are the benefits of each option?

September 14, 2016

A general hospital is one in which patients with all types of ailments are treated under the same roof. In a general hospital, all general surgery procedures may be performed such as procedures to tackle the complications of appendectomy (a surgical procedure performed to remove your appendix). While a specialized hospital is one, which specializes in the treatment of a particular or a group of related ailments only, such as ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeries.

Research and studies have been performed to analyze the importance as well as the pros and cons of both the types of hospitals so that you can make the best choice for yourself. Studies have also found out ways by which one kind affects the other through competition.

General and specialized hospitals: the current scenario

During the past decade, the rapid growth of specialized hospitals that focused on profitability in service lines such as in the Orthopaedic and cardiac centres has led to increasing concerns for the general hospitals in their ability to compete in terms of profitability.

Critics review that the speciality hospitals are responsible for drawing more-profitable and less-complicated patients with private insurance and Medicare away from the general hospitals. This threatens the ability of the general hospitals to cross-subsidize services that are less profitable and provide uncompensated care. There has been little evidence whether speciality hospitals have actually affected the financial viability of general hospitals or their ability to care for patients who have a low-incomes or are uninsured. In spite of the initial challenges that were faced during the recruitment of staff and maintenance of service volumes or patient referrals, general hospitals were initially able to respond to the entry of speciality hospitals.

Pros and cons of a specialized hospital:

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of specialized hospitals to help you decide whether you should go for them or not as and when the need arises.

  1. Critics suggest that specialized hospitals can draw large volumes, thereby reducing costs and improving the quality of the services provided to you.
  2. Specialized hospitals may increase their standards of quality, thereby encouraging the general hospitals to improve their quality standards too as a result of competition.
  3. Specialized hospitals are seen to deliver better amenities for its patients and also achieve a higher percentage of patient satisfaction.
  4. Specialized hospitals also put greater management responsibilities on the doctors that help to improve quality as well as productivity.


  1. Specialized hospitals may tend to prefer well-insured patients while neglecting uninsured patients.
  2. Some critics contend that the specialized hospitals tend to threaten the capability of the general hospitals to cross-subsidize services or patients that are less profitable.
  3. Specialized hospitals may not be able to manage critical emergency situations all the time since the particular physician may not be present on site all the time.
  4. The ownership structure of the specialization hospitals may encourage physicians to self-refer to over utilize hospital services.

Pros and Cons of a General Hospital:

Now here’s looking at the pros and cons of the general hospital to give you a fair idea of which of them can prove to be the best option for you.

  1. You can get all your queries solved under a roof
  2. Treatments in general hospitals may be less expensive than in specialized hospitals
  3. Due to their big size, they usually have more beds than the specialized hospitals


  1. Their sheer size itself is a big issue, especially when it comes to hygiene, quality of services provided and maintenance
  2. There may be less of a personalized care since there are a variety of patients with a variety of ailments under one roof

Studies have found out that competition from the specialized hospitals has affected the financial well-being of the general hospitals through competition for doctors and staff members, efficiency in providing emergency services etc.


If you are not sure about whether to go to a general hospital or a specialized one, then you may consult a doctor who would understand your requirements and suggest the best option for you.