There are many benefits
outpatient services, depending on the type of medical
procedure you need and on what you prefer.
Outpatient services can be cost-effective.
Often, the procedure that you need may cost less at an outpatient
service center than at a hospital, especially since you are not billed for
separate hospital services. Outpatient service centers do not require an
overnight stay. This can reduce costs.
service centers usually specialize in one type of treatment or procedure. And the staff usually has a
lot of experience that is focused on the procedure you need. Also, the equipment
and techniques used may be the most advanced.
services may be more convenient for you. All of the care that you need before,
during, and after the procedure, surgery, or test may be conveniently provided
in one place.
When choosing an outpatient facility, consider:
The reputation and quality of the center. What
do you know about the care offered by the facility? Learning about the
particular center before the procedure may prevent you from receiving poor
care. For more information about finding out the quality of an outpatient
facility, see the Quality of Outpatient Services section of this
The center's ability to access emergency equipment. Does the
center have all of the possible equipment and knowledge it needs to treat you
in case of an emergency during your procedure, test, or surgery—such as
problems with anesthesia during surgery or your newborn needing intensive care
after delivery? If you have other health conditions, you may be at higher
risk for needing emergency care.
The center's connection to a major
hospital, in case you need emergency care, and how far away the hospital
The center's level of follow-up care. Find out if the center
offers follow-up care or designates someone to care for you after the
procedure, surgery, or test—even after the center is closed. Will you receive clear, written instructions on
how to care for yourself after your visit? Follow-up care can be an important
part of appropriate health care.
The center's location. Is the
facility close enough that if you need to return for additional care, you can
get there without too much inconvenience? Is there a center located closer to
you that offers the same service?
The type of communication that
will be available to your doctor. Will the facility send all test results and
reports to your doctor? If a center does not communicate well, it will be a
struggle to get helpful information to your doctor. Talk with your doctor and
others who have used the center to find out whether the staff will communicate
well with you and your doctor.
Your insurance coverage. Does your
health plan provide coverage for the outpatient service center? If the center is not
covered, you risk having to pay more for the services.