What are outpatient services?
Outpatient services are
medical procedures or tests that can be done in a medical center without an
overnight stay. Many procedures and tests can be done in a few hours.
Outpatient services include:
- Wellness and prevention, such as counseling and weight-loss
- Diagnosis, such as lab tests and
- Treatment, such as some surgeries and
- Rehabilitation, such as drug or alcohol
rehab and physical therapy.
What are the benefits of choosing outpatient services?
Outpatient services usually cost less, because you don't need to stay
overnight. Staff members at outpatient centers are well trained in the service
they provide. Most of the time, these centers specialize in one kind of
treatment or procedure. Often all the care you need can be provided in one
Who uses outpatient services?
Most people can choose an
outpatient center instead of a hospital if the needed service is available. But
not all medical procedures can or should be done at an outpatient
How can you find the right center?
Your doctor may
recommend a center. You can also ask family or friends who have used outpatient
services to tell you about their experiences.
To find the right
center to provide the service you need, you'll need to ask some questions, such
- Does the center take your health insurance?
What costs will your insurance pay?
- Will you get instructions
before, during, and after a procedure or test?
- Can you get all the
care you need at the center?
- Does your doctor think you may need
emergency services during the procedure? Can the center treat your other
problems if needed?
- What kind of experience does the staff have?
How long has the center been in business? Are the doctors certified to provide
the care you need?
- Will the outpatient center staff talk with your
doctor and give needed information quickly?
- Is the center clean,
organized, comfortable, and private?
How can you know if the outpatient center is trustworthy?
Try to find out all you can about the outpatient
center before you use it. It's a good idea to visit the center before you
Many health and government agencies rate or report on the
quality of outpatient centers. Check with your state's board of medicine or
with your insurance company to learn more.
You can also use the
Quality Check website from The Joint Commission. For more information, go to
Frequently Asked Questions