According to a recent article by HealthDive.com, medical technology, overall wellness and the number of outpatient procedures versus inpatient procedures are on the rise. Gone and soon forgotten are the days, weeks or even months spent in a hospital bed recovering from even the simplest procedures. Advancements in medical technology, a recent emphasis on quality of care over quantity of care and a desire to reduce the cost of care for the patient are the driving forces behind this new trend.
Overall numbers in the American Hospital Association Trendwatch Chatbook back this up.
There were 786,874 reported in 2014 as opposed to 901,056 beds in 1994.
Admission rates per 1,000 visits dropped from 118 to 103.7 over the same period.
Of the 2.3 MORE patients treated in 2014, they spent a total of 26.7 million fewer days in the hospital.
So, here we see that the number of patients, adjusted for population, making use of inpatient services has decreased and of those that are admitted to the hospital have shorter hospital stays.
In fact, many hospitals are no longer offering any inpatient services in lieu of larger emergency and surgical centers.
What Is Driving This Trend?
In a single word: Cost.
Outpatient surgeries and aftercare are simply less expensive than inpatient care. A study published by Orthopedic Reviews in December of 2016 found that cost savings averaged at 16.6% to 57.6% for most procedures, with savings primarily coming due to the lack of nursing and room costs.
Government and insurance companies, realizing the lower costs of outpatient services over inpatient services, are encouraging this trend through wellness programs as part of their overall coverage. Also, as patients are asked to bear a greater portion of their overall healthcare costs, they are being much more judicious in what kind of and how often they seek treatment.
One cannot overlook the advances in medical technology as another driving force behind the growing trend of outpatient surgery over inpatient. From remote monitoring services to advancements in surgical technology, we are simply better at performing these procedures and facilitating aftercare than we were in years past.
Are you considering a surgical procedure? Would you like to know if it can be performed as an outpatient rather than inpatient surgery? Contact Outpatient Services East to arrange a consultation.
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