Outpatient Services

Outpatient Services, at a high level meaning health care provided without a hospital admittance, has been growing rapidly in the healthcare field and this is due to increasing new technologies like advanced imaging, virtual and remote care, telehealth, and mobile health applications. Many services that previously needed to be performed in a hospital or inpatient care can now take place in an outpatient setting, such as cardiac catheterizations and spinal surgery. Telehealth, electronic medical records, and mobile applications allow for easier patient monitoring, especially postoperatively and for chronic illnesses, replacing the need for hospital admission.  In addition, Outpatient Services have been increasingly demanded from consumers and this has also driven the number of these services provided. Some services have grown much faster than others such as drug admission outpatient services that have significantly increased in recent years.  Lastly, health care insurance reimbursement encourages an outpatient service as it is generally less costly than an inpatient service.

Outpatients Services

Outpatients Services, or an Outpatient definition, is health care that is provided without being admitted to a hospital or for a hospital stay that is under 24 hours. Another way to express the Outpatient definition is essentially anything other than an inpatient service. Outpatients Services as a group includes diagnostic tests such as X-rays or blood work; treatments such as chemotherapy, minor surgical procedures, and rehab visits; and routine physicals.  Generally, almost any kind of service that can be provided outside a hospital can be considered outpatient. Outpatients Services may be delivered in such settings as a physician’s office, clinic, ambulatory surgery center, emergency room, some departments of a hospital, and even at the home.  Outpatients Services, also known as Ambulatory care, are one of the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Outpatient Services have many potential benefits as compared to Inpatient.  Outpatient Services can drive down costs primarily due to the elimination of a hospital room that can be around $10,000 per night.  Outpatient procedures are more convenient and lead to easier recoveries due to the patient being in the comfort of their own home.  Outpatient services provide lower risk from hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and other complications, faster treatment, more personalized care, and improved continuity of care, all contributing to overall better patient satisfaction and satisfaction scores.

Outpatient Services in Hospitals

Outpatient Services in Hospitals have been growing in recent years as there has been a shift toward Outpatient Services compared to Inpatient mostly due to the benefits described above, including financial incentives by insurance companies as well as regulatory incentives at the federal, state, and local level.  Generally, hospitals will provide more inpatient services than outpatient services, however, this gap is closing.  Outpatient Services in Hospitals include diagnosis and treatment as well as triage to help evaluate and determine if the patient needs inpatient services, similar to an emergency room. The Outpatient department of a hospital is usually on the ground floor for easier access but sometimes it is located within one of the floors of the Hospital. Some Hospitals also provide Urgent care facilities on-site along with physician practices as a way to increase their Outpatient Services, expand community reach, and maintain their budgets.

Outpatient Services in Hospitals can be tracked and the increases can be measured by reviewing services to Medicare beneficiaries or patients, who are over 60 million people and generally make up a larger portion of healthcare services provided due to their age.  Medicare divides its services as Medicare Part A for inpatient care and Medicare Part B for outpatient care and comparing the calculated revenue from both Part A and Part B has shown a growing trend toward Outpatient patients as well as Outpatient Services.

Outpatient Pharmacy

Outpatient Pharmacy is a pharmacy that can be found on hospital property or it can be non-affiliated with a hospital, such as a CVS or Walgreens. Outpatient pharmacies include retail, specialty, home infusion, home delivery, and other services.  As a side, Vascular Wellness works with many major pharmacies to coordinate vascular access with medication delivery.

Outpatient Pharmacy that is affiliated with a hospital or clinic will usually only fill prescriptions for medical treatments related to this hospital or clinic or one of its outpatient facilities.  Generally, this includes patients who are being treated at that hospital, patients who have been discharged, patients who are receiving outpatient therapy, and hospital staff. Outpatient Pharmacy that is affiliated with a hospital is better able to compound specialty drugs and preparations for their patients on-site rather than specialty-order them and may have a greater understanding of the more specialty children’s medications. Outpatient Pharmacy is advantageous for the patient who uses them as the pharmacy staff is already knowledgeable of their medical condition and there may be discounts on the medications or programs to help with prescription costs.  For example,  the 340B Drug Pricing Program, a program that provides discounts on prescription drugs for low-income communities, is usually better understood and made more accessible by a Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy versus a standard retail pharmacy.

Outpatient Infusion

Outpatient Infusion typically takes place in a doctor’s office, outpatient facility, infusion center or, in certain situations, the patient’s home. These are more comfortable options and usually less costly than a hospital setting, although there are Outpatient Infusion centers situated in a hospital. Outpatient Infusion centers typically offer patients comfortable infusion chairs, blankets, movies, reading material, and hot coffee along with other refreshments; many types of infusion take several hours to complete, so patient comfort is very important.  Infusion therapy is when medication or fluids are administered through a needle or catheter, also known as Intravenous therapy.  IV therapy is an infusion therapy method of delivering medication and therapies into a vein for immediate access to the bloodstream. Other forms of infusion therapy are epidural infusions or subcutaneous infusions. In any case, Outpatient infusions are typically IV therapy and can take place using a basic IV, standard IV, Midline, or a standard or advanced central line (a line that ends in a large blood vessel in the chest).  This is usually necessary if the peripheral veins in the arms are inadequate or the medication requires infusion into a large vein to be properly diluted by the blood. Central lines can be inserted into the chest, arm, neck, or mid-thigh and can provide multiple lumens if necessary.

Outpatient Infusion requires a nurse trained in vascular access to place these lines and this nurse, or a different nurse, provides or oversees the medication.  The procedure requires careful monitoring, and the patient will be given instructions to care for their IV line. Outpatient Infusion can treat all kinds of medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, infections, and hemophilia, and provides a more relaxing and convenient option than the hospital, especially when infusions are administered on a regular basis. Vascular Wellness provides specialized nurses trained in vascular access for Outpatient Infusions as well as for Inpatient bedside treatments but does not typically provide or oversee the actual infusion.

Inpatient Outpatient

| Inpatient and Outpatient Meaning

Inpatient vs. Outpatient care is the comparison between these two forms of medical care.  Inpatient vs. Outpatient care basically is the difference between a patient requiring admission for an overnight stay versus care that does not require admission.  There is a shift away from inpatient care as a way to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and help ensure medical resources for patients who require it.  Inpatient care is generally for patients who have more serious acute health issues and need a higher level of service provided with 24 hour care.  Outpatient care is for patients who may or may not have a serious condition but one that can be treated without 24 hour care.  They are often on a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.

Inpatient Outpatient care essentially covers all care.  Inpatient includes childbirth, complex surgeries such as bypass heart surgery, and severe health issues such as respiratory issues that demand intubation, and Outpatient includes minor surgical procedures, X-rays and CT scans, and blood work. Inpatient Outpatient care facilities differ due to the types of care involved. Inpatient care facilities include Acute Care facilities for critical short-term illnesses and conditions, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes or skilled care facilities, and rehabilitation centers for stroke or brain injury patients requiring specialized treatment. In addition to Infusion suites, Outpatient care facilities include clinics that provide routine preventive care, emergency room or urgent care as the patient is not admitted to the hospital, and outpatient surgery centers.

Vascular Access Specialists

| Vascular Wellness

Vascular Wellness is a team of Vascular Access Specialists that provides services at the bedside on an outpatient or inpatient basis promptly so that patients can generally be treated quicker and more efficiently.  Vascular Wellness clinicians are experts in all aspects of Vascular Access Device (VAD) placement including assessment, insertion, maintenance, difficult placements, and removal.  Vascular Wellness Specialists are W2 employees who complete comprehensive training that can involve placing 50 to 100 lines per procedure type, follow best practices for line placement for vein preservation and to prevent side effects, and utilize the best equipment and supplies from Bard/BD, a leading supplier to hospitals. Vascular Wellness clinicians can place Ultrasound-Guided Extended Dwell PIVs, Midlines, and PICCs, and many clinicians can place advanced devices, including Small Bore Central Catheter Lines (such as Internal Jugular Lines and Femoral Lines) and Large Bore Central Catheter Lines (such as Vas Caths for Dialysis and Quad Lumens). Vascular Wellness also provides Vascular Access training, infection control, and comprehensive administrative support including quality reports and detailed patient records for The Joint Commission surveyors.  Vascular Wellness clinicians are Vascular Access Specialists and serve as reliable, scalable, and trusted outsourcing partners to any healthcare provider or facility.

To learn more about our Services, please visit our Vascular Access Services page

If you require Vascular Access or want to learn more about our services, speak to the team at Vascular Wellness today. For the latest articles and insights, follow us on LinkedInFacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram.

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