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Hospital vs. Clinic

We need a clear distinctive criterion when the amenity is a hospital or a amenity=clinic. On this page it says "often but not always providing for longer-term patient stays" which is a bit fuzzy, while the clinic page clearly says it is a hospital when it "offers inpatient care (beds for long stays)".

Thus having in-patient beds would be a good criterion, which could be clarified on the hospital page. --Polarbear w (talk) 11:40, 11 November 2015 (UTC)


Wie wird die medizinische Fachrichtung attributiert? Meist gibt es ja mehrere: Geburtsstation, Chirurgie, Psychiatrie, etc.


--Markus 10:14, 29 November 2008 (UTC) I think this is reasonable idea. To keep with the British English convention of tag names I would suggest the following: specialty=Obstetrics;General Surgery;Psychiatry. Note the particular spelling it is NOT speciality!

Further, I think it is important to discriminate between different types of hospitals. The emergency tag is clearly the most important of these. We should be able to discriminate between acute and long-stay hospitals; between mental, geriatric and similar categories of long stay care; between major regional centres (CHRU in France, Top-hospitals in Netherlands) with a broader range of specialties; regional training centres (CHU in France, University Hospitals in UK), district hospitals (CH in France), and what in the UK are known as cottage or GP hospitals (usually without surgeons or anaesthetists). The obvious menas of tagging this would be : hospital=District;Regional;Cottage. SK53 10:35, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


Would it be useful to show specific entrances? Especially for a big site with separate entrances for emergencies. One hospital site where I live has several entrances, notably because several sub-hospitals are on the same site:

  • adult emergencies
  • child emergencies
  • maternity arrivals
  • non-emergencies general entrance for adults
  • non-emergencies for children
  • day clinic

...and even others that I don't know about.

Sounds very ambitious at this point. What I think is most important is the emergency entrance. At least I want to guide people in an emergency the shortest/fastest way possible. All regular visitors hopefully have more time to find their way thru the main entrance. So what I have done is to put a hospital POI with the hospitals name near the main enterance (amenity=hospital, name=My Hospital). And then added a nameless hospital POI near the emergency entrance (amenity=hospital, emergency=yes). And then I hope it will get rendered differently. But this is not all good, since there is no way to find this poi in a text search, when you start your route. It is only visible when looking at a map, when you are close to the target. --Henriko 17:17, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I do agree that at least the emergency entrance should exist. Unfortunately, at the moment, there is an "entrance=emergency" tag that exists and that is used for building emergency exits. I personally think that the current "entrance=emergency" should be renamed to "entrance=emergency_exit" to avoid confusion, and a new "entrance=emergency_service" or "entrance=medical_emergencies" should be used. Chtfn (talk) 09:31, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Henriko, please do not add further "amenity=hospital" to parts of the hospital, such as entrances or other. There should be only one "amenity=hospital" per hospital. --Polarbear w (talk) 07:49, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
And your suggestion to the problem is? --Henriko (talk) 20:12, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Agree with Chtfn. entrance=emergency doesn't even make sense to denote emergency exits. --Absay (talk) 03:31, 13 March 2017 (UTC)


Suggestion based on use of capacity=* used in the context of parking=*; capacity in context of hospitals to refer to # of beds. --Ceyockey 12:54, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

A single key such as capacity:*=* has nor relationship or context to other text such as parking, even when at most used with parking at the moment. --Fabi2 19:02, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Quarantine Office

How should a Quarantine Office or Health Officer Office be tagged? These are generally an governmental function for checking up health certificates of ships and planes in international trade, and are generally located on hospitals (where the government have given the authority of control to a trained doctor), but sometimes are located in a separate official building, i.e. Ministry of Health. INT 1 have a map symbol for Quarantine Office. --Skippern 22:09, 20 September 2010 (BST)

Hospital Buildings Strewn Around a University Campus

How should I tag a hospital with buildings scattered around a university campus? I can't draw a big area because it would be many little areas. But it should only be 1 tag for 1 feature. The specific case I'm working on is the Keck Medical Center at USC. unsigned comment added by Zian (talkcontribs)

Yeah, this is a very good question, I would also be interested in the answer. Currently I have no better guess than tagging each building as a hospital. – kdano * 03:46, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Non 24/7 emergency departments

One of our local hospitals has its regular outpatients and clinic functions but also has an emergency department that operates only 8am-8pm Mon-Fri.

I have tagged (the grounds) amenity:hospital, emergency:yes etc. Is there a way of indicating the time restrictions on the ED?--Jmk 08:41, 1 July 2016‎

The question would be initially, is it a hospital according to OSM definitions, i.e. has it any in-patients? Otherwise it would be amenity=clinic. There is a tag for opening_hours, the question is how to separate the Emergency department from the facility if the hours are different -- probably a separate node would help.--Polarbear w (talk) 10:40, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Polarbear w. Yes, in this case it is a hospital with in-patients. I think the separate node idea works best so will implement it.--Jmk 11:30, 1 July 2016‎

Use of the right emblem for health features

I believe we should review the emblem to be used in order to identify health care in OSM. Indeed, the use of the Red Cross emblem is precisely specified in the Geneva Conventions. In short, it can be used either as a protective emblem in order to identify persons, vehicles and buildings dedicated to medical aid in war zone that must be protected or as an identification for the members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, i.e. the ICRC, the IFRC and the National Societies.

Therefore, the use of this emblem on OSM contributes to the misuse of it and the wrong perception that Red Cross can be used by any health centres, privates or public, in peacetime as well as war zone, which is not correct.

The importance of the respect of the emblem is that by ensuring a strict control of its use, the members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement can build trust towards the parties in conflict and demand them to respect the emblem. If any organisation or private health centre use it, there is no more guarantee in a war context that a vehicle marked with the Red Cross emblem is neutral and independent.

For example about the right emblem to use for hospital is a white "H" letter on a blue background. --added‎ by Vmalep 6 September 2016

Well OSM itself does not use any emblem, just the tagging as an amenity which can be rendered on a map as you like. You might raise the issue in the carto style however to get it changed on the default map. Do you have a reference of an international body defining the usage of the white H on blue?--Polarbear w (talk) 08:09, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
This is not true. OSM does render features tagged as ammenity:hospital with a Red Cross (check this place for an example: /#map=15/-8.0473/28.2518). Obviously, the rendering on a map depends on its creator, but this wiki page clearly encourages the use of the Red Cross emblem. Btw, if you click on the image on the top right of the wiki page, you can see the warning "The use of the symbol shown in this image is regulated by certain international treaties, particularly the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols of 1977 and 2005, as well as other rules of International Humanitarian Law either in written agreements or by long-standing customs. Misuse of this symbol is prohibited by these treaties as well as by national law in all countries which have ratified them. These restrictions are independent of the copyright status of the depiction".
The Australian Red Cross suggests alternatives including the white "H". I would like to include external link in this response, but the wiki asks me "to type the two words you see in the box below" that I cannot see... --added‎ by Vmalep 6 September 2016
What you mean is the default map in Carto style, for which you can raise an issue here. OSM itself is the database which is render-independent. --Polarbear w (talk) 09:55, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Polarbear. Well noted for Carto style and I will look at it. At the same times, it sounds a bit easy to deny any OSM responsibilities when it is the default style used on the OSM website. More importantly, this wiki page does encourage people to use the Red Cross emblem (see the rendering part, Tag:amenity=hospital#Rendering, which suggests the emblem used by Carto style) and my point is that it should rather suggest the use of the proper emblem. --added‎ by Vmalep 6 September 2016
Well the properness needs some evidence, you will be asked the same when you open a Carto ticket. Further, the "H" is used for the Helipad which often is part of a hospital, so there might be some conflict. --Polarbear w (talk) 19:48, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Here you have the regulation about the Red Cross emblem: [1]. In particular, the article 53 of the First Geneva Convention. Indeed, I have not yet find legal or conventional reference for an alternative emblem, except this page: [2]. But the lack of clear alternative does not change the fact that the Red Cross should not be used on this wiki page. vmalep 6 September 2016
Styling in default map style was discussed in There was no evidence found that using cross icons for hospitals is somehow illegal or restricted. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 20:04, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Resolved: It is a rendering issue, not a data or tagging issue - discuss with authors of renderers at appropriate locations Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:03, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Switzerland or Hospital?

Why hospitals are shown with a Swiss flag (white cross on red flag) instead of the red cross on a white flag?--Männedorf (talk) 22:48, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Read the above section on Use of the right emblem for health features to see why the 'red cross on a white flag' cannot be used. Do you have an alternative that is not already suggested? Warin61 (talk) 00:18, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
'red cross on a white flag' cannot be used - [citation needed] (preferably from independent sources, not from owner of overly broad trademark that will be struck down sooner or later) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 20:06, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

Resolved: It is a rendering issue, not a data or tagging issue - discuss with authors of renderers at appropriate locations Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:02, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

How to tag Day hospitals?

I found different taggings for day hospitals comparing germany to the UK. In the wiki is described that amenity=hospital should be used for institutions with nursing care for longer term stays and amenity=clinic for institutions with only outpatient treatment. According to [[3]] a "Day hospital" is an outpatient facility so it should be tagged amenity=clinic according to the osm wiki page. In contrast the most facilities named "xyz Day Hospital" in UK are in fact tagged as "hospital". In Germany it is used the other way, most of the Day Hospitals (in german "Tagesklinik") are tagged as "clinic", which is in accordance to the definition in the wiki - but not really logical from a german point of view where the treatment in a Day hospital (at least longterm treatment like psychiatric treatment) is an "partial inpatient" treatment. (The distinction between in- and outpatient is made in a linguistically different way: outpatient="ambulant", inpatient="stationär", Day hospital="teilstationär" - from the word Station = engl. ward; = partial hospitalization.)

Finally I'd prefer the introduction of a tag like amenity=day_clinic to make that clear. But in between, what seems more appropriate for the day hospitals? Clinic or hospital? Segubi (talk) 00:43, 24 October 2021 (UTC)

While I don't like Proposed features/Healthcare 2.0 fully, a random treat:inpatient=* is suggested there, so it may be developed further to include this. At least you should use healthcare=day_clinic, but I would prefer *=clinic + clinic=day_clinic.
Is "day clinic" the same as "day hospital"?
---- Kovposch (talk) 04:15, 24 October 2021 (UTC)
As I see in taginfo, no one so far used a tag amenity or healthcare = day_hospital worldwide. There are exactly 3 occurrences of healthcare:speciality=day_clinic worldwide (2 in South Africa, 1 in Wales), which by the way is a misunderstanding of the term speciality. I would't change the tagging of the little numbers of day hospitals I know enough to be sure about this proper interpretation and produce a new inconsistency of the data. (No automated edits!!!).
Whether "day clinic" is the same as "day hospital" I can't decide - for these details neither my knowledge of the English language nor of the structure of the health system in English speaking countries is good enough. (According to the OSM rules: Knowledge of the British English would be enough - but mine is still not enough). As far as I know, the term "day clinic" is not generally used in the English language, this may be the main and only relevant difference between these two. Looking e.g. in en.wikipedia you find even no redirection from "day clinic" to "day hospital", I didn't find any occurences in the UK, the main usage among (in part) English speaking countries seems to be in South Africa and Australia, other uses for example for a hospital in Germany - but in a possibly mistaken translation of a german page (Schön Klinik). I asked the author (probably living in the UK and with interest in the health system) to comment on it.
I can explain the German terms, there it's easy: A term "Tageshospital" isn't used in Germany (but I even don't know about other German speaking countries or even possible regional uses...), only the term "Tagesklinik" is in use. Segubi (talk) 06:58, 24 October 2021 (UTC)

How to tag part of a hospital?

amenity:part=hospital? healthcare:part=hospital? hospital:part=yes?

Currently amenity=clinic and amenity=hospital are used for that which is clearly incorrect (except cases where it is actually medical centre that does not admit inpatients)

Some examples:

Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:04, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

healthcare=department or healthcare=hospital_department was previously suggested on the tagging list, to go along with the in-use department=* key or perhaps healthcare:speciality=*. [4] – Minh Nguyễn 💬 00:14, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
I think healthcare:department=* as it can be used with healthcare=doctor, healthcare=clinic, healthcare=hospital etc. This would keep the medical type department values away from other department=* values making them easier to find. The healthcare:speciality=* is meant to be subordinate to a main healthcare tag, not for use by itself. Warin61 (talk) 07:51, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
*=hospital is not as tricky as in amenity=university. where department=* face variations in "school" and "faculty" terminology in relation to faculty=*. But I wonder why it should not be freeform text, compared to owner=* and operator=*. You could have many combination in names, that it's difficult to summarize to become pre-defined values.
Although it uses the unfavorable *:type=* suffix, for reference Proposed_features/Healthcare_2.0#Hospital_with_its_departments uses health_facility:type=department to allow for the possibility of any other "parts".
If trying to improve on the tagging comprehensively, it's worth considering to fix the healthcare:speciality=* misuse with the correct word *specialty=*. At least health_specialty:*=* has the advantage of enabling you to specify the *=main, *=additional, *=partial, and *=trained functions of a hospital upfront, without the requirement to add individual departments yet. Any department mapping on its own may not reflect its size or importance. Kovposch (talk) 10:53, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
amenity:part=* and healthcare:part=* are mismatches, not being a part of some "amenity" and "healthcare" facility. Unless you plan on allowing others eg a amenity:part=social_facility in amenity=hospital, they wouldn't fit in the building:part=* structure pattern.
Is amenity=clinic always "clearly incorrect"? There are centers and different organizational units inside a hospital, aside from departments.
hospital=* would be an option if it's not used as an attribute to specify a *=hospital, so as to align with police=* and military=* features, as well as university=* with some usage. ---- Kovposch (talk) 10:33, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
"Is amenity=clinic always "clearly incorrect"" not always, some actual fit the intended meaning. But they are often used for parts such as lung department, breast cancer department admitting inpatients. I tweaked top post. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:48, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
I not certain who said "There are centers and different organizational units inside a hospital, aside from departments." whoever. My comment is whatever name is used in one place, say 'department' will have a different name, say 'unit' in another place. The tag used in OSM does not demand the same words are used around the world for that object. So healthcare=hospital is used for a hospital in Greece (νοσοκομείο). Warin61 (talk) 08:56, 16 January 2022 (UTC)