Medical centers employ specialized health science and auxiliary healthcare personnel to provide healthcare to patients. They use medical equipment to diagnose and treat patients. They can also perform tests and prescribe medication. The main goal of medical centers is to help patients improve their quality of life. Hospitals are an example of medical centers. They can provide high quality care for many different types of diseases. Academic medical centers are renowned for the advanced clinical care they provide. They combine education and research to improve patient care. This approach allows them to provide cutting-edge medical technologies and therapies. For example, the physicians at Penn University have developed some of the latest medical technologies. They include the first general pneumonia vaccine and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. Non-academic medical centers also serve patients. These facilities may not be as involved in federally-funded research or graduate medical education. They tend to treat a greater volume of patients than their academic counterparts. In addition, they may be more generalist in their approach to treatment, which may make them less efficient. They may also be more expensive than academic medical centers. Nevertheless, they are the cornerstone of the American healthcare system. Generally speaking, medical centers accept most forms of health insurance. However, it's important to verify your coverage before visiting a medical center. In addition, community health centers offer primary health care services at a cost based on ability to pay.