Outpatient services are a type of medical care provided to patients who do not require a hospital stay. These services are typically provided in a doctor’s office, clinic, or other healthcare setting. Outpatient care can range from minor medical procedures to complex surgeries or treatments.

The benefits of outpatient services are plentiful. They are typically less expensive and more convenient than inpatient care, as they allow patients to get the care they need without the time and expense of a hospital visit. Additionally, outpatient services are often more comfortable for patients, as they are typically provided in private settings and do not require an overnight stay.

Outpatient services can be used to address a variety of medical concerns, including minor surgeries, diagnostic tests, preventive care, and follow-up visits. For example, a patient may visit an outpatient clinic for a sore throat, while another may receive a complex surgery under the care of a specialist. Outpatient services can also be used to provide follow-up care after a hospital stay.

Outpatient services are widely available across the healthcare system, with many primary care providers and specialty care centers offering these services. In addition, the use of telehealth services is increasing, allowing patients to access care from the comfort of their own home.

The use of outpatient services has grown significantly in recent years. A recent study by the American Hospital Association found that outpatient visits accounted for nearly 60 percent of all hospital visits in 2017, up from just under 50 percent in 2010. This trend is expected to continue, as more and more healthcare providers offer outpatient services.

Outpatient services provide an important and often cost-effective way for patients to receive the care they need without having to stay in the hospital. As healthcare providers continue to shift towards outpatient services, it is important to ensure that patients have access to the services they need and that these services are provided in a safe and effective manner.


American Hospital Association. (2018). AHA Annual Survey Database. Retrieved from https://www.ahadata.com/

National Center for Health Statistics. (2018). Outpatient visits to selected medical practitioners by selected age and sex: United States, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db280.pdf

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