About the book
Outpatient care is provision of medical care on an outpatient basis. It includes observation, diagnosis, consultation, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation services. This type of care can include from basic to advanced medical technology and procedures even when it is provided outside of hospitals. Many types of medical investigations and treatments for various acute and chronic diseases and preventive health care can be carried out on an ambulatory basis, including dermatology services, minor medical procedures, many types of dental services, and many specific diagnostic procedures (e.g. blood tests, X-rays, etc.) and many palliative cares. Other types of outpatient care services include wellness and prevention services, such as psychological counselling and weight-loss programs, telephone consultations, rehabilitation, such as drug or alcohol rehabilitation and physical therapy including rehabilitation visits, and emergency visits.
Sites where outpatient care can be delivered include: an examination room in a doctor's office, clinics, urgent care centers (USA), hospital emergency departments, non-medical institution-based settings, non-institution settings and telematic. Telemedicine is delivery of services over long distances with the aid of technology. Outpatient surgery, also called same-day, ambulatory or office-based surgery, provides patients with the convenience and comfort of recovering at home, and can cost less. The difference between an outpatient care and inpatient care is the length of time that the patient must remain in the facility where they have the procedure done. Patients receiving outpatient care don't need to spend a night in a hospital whereas inpatient care requires at least overnight hospitalization. Therefore, an outpatient means a patient who is not hospitalized overnight but who visits a hospital, clinic, or associated facility for diagnosis or treatment.
Outpatient services usually cost less, because you don't need to stay overnight. Technology and patient consumerism are two of the top factors contributing to the growth of outpatient facilities. Outpatient care has become more common due to several factors. New technologies and better drugs have allowed medical tests, procedures and therapies to be provided outside of acute care settings. Changes in insurance reimbursement rules and the adoption of alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations, have incentivized providers to deliver high quality, affordable care across the continuum while reducing the number and length of inpatient stays and visits to the emergency department.