How to represent clinics branches using organization vs location?

I need to define a clinic with multiple branches

is it correct to create one organization resource for the clinic then create location resource for each branch?

I am a little confused, what is the correct way to use organization and location resources?

Organization represents a group of people with responsibility. Location represents a physical structure. HealthcareService represents an organization’s abilities (and availability) to deliver a specific set of services at a physical location. For a clinic, you’d typically have both an Organization (who works there and has responsibility for the care delivered there) and a Location (the physical building or portion thereof the clinic operates in) as well as one or more HealthcareServices that describe what’s available when. (E.g. the clinic is available for walk-in medical care from 9-6pm weekdays and 10-4pm weekends, but diabetic services are only available on Tue/Thur and dietary services are only available on Tue and Fri from 10-2.)

Organization hierarchy represents responsibility. E.g. Department 123 is part of Good Health Clinic #57 is part of the Good Health Clinic organization, which is a subsidiary of Megacorp A

Location hierarchy represents physical containment (Campus A contains Building 1 which contains Floor B which contains Wing 2, which contains Room C, which contains Bed 3

HealthcareService doesn’t have hierarchy. Instead it binds together an Organization and a Location and declares what’s available when.

(Location also has hours contact information, but that indicates when the physical doors are open and how to reach the site as a whole - if the clinic is in a mall, the Location availability is going to be when you can get into the mall, not necessarily when the clinic’s services are available.)


Thank you @lloyd, really helpfull.

should I define location resources for each organization resource?

or is it fine to define one organization resource (as a top-level organization that has no location resource) and every (organization + location) belongs to this top-level organization?

Many things are possible. What you should do depends on your requirements. If you just want to say “there is one group of people who have responsibility and they collectively have responsibility for this set of buildings/rooms/whatever”, then yes, one organization + multiple locations works. However, if there are different sub-groups with responsibility for different buildings/floors/sections, then you’ll want sub-organizations for each. And sometimes, you’ll have different sub-groups working out of the same location, in which case you’ll need HealthcareService to indicate what each group offers from the same physical site.


It would be very helpful to include Iloyd’s explanation in the section Boundaries and Relationships of each related resource in the formal spec.

Feel free to submit a change proposal :slight_smile: