Outpatient Care: The Main Components

Yoo, H. H., Nunes‐Nogueira, V. S., Boas, P. J. F. V., & Broderick, C. (2019). Outpatient versus inpatient treatment for acute pulmonary embolism. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).

In the article, the authors show the difference between outpatient and inpatient treatment. In their opinion, outpatient care is medical care provided in medical organizations or their respective structural units in conditions that do not provide for round-the-clock medical supervision and treatment. Outpatient medical care is provided in the following order. It includes the admission of the patient out of turn and without prior appointment, and the lack of identity documents is not a reason for refusing an emergency appointment. The volume of diagnostic and therapeutic measures for a particular patient is determined by the attending physician within the framework of departmental regulations, guidelines and instructions. Moreover, the order of referral of patients to scheduled diagnostic studies is allowed.

Inpatient care is medical care provided in conditions that provide for round-the-clock medical supervision and treatment in hospital healthcare organizations. Specialized medical care is provided in inpatient and day hospital conditions by specialist doctors and includes the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. It considers conditions that require the use of special methods and complex medical technologies. High-tech medical care, which is part of specialized medical care, includes the use of new complex and (or) unique methods of treatment.

Lewis, A. K., Harding, K. E., Snowdon, D. A., & Taylor, N. F. (2018). Reducing wait time from referral to first visit for community outpatient services may contribute to better health outcomes: a systematic review. BMC health services research, 18(1), 1-14.

The article presents the results of the analysis of applied practices of regulation and monitoring of waiting periods for medical care. In most countries, waiting times for medical care are controlled and there is a government policy to reduce them. The resources of any health care system are limited, and in each of them there is a regulation of patients’ access to certain types of medical care. Everywhere, priority is given to patients who require emergency medical care for life-threatening conditions or acute pain.

The main characteristic of these systems is a single procedure for queuing and accounting for waiting periods, which applies to all medical organizations financed from public funds. The presence of a single procedure ensures transparency in the queue, reduces the level of uncertainty regarding the availability of medical care. Moreover, it enhances the ability to make informed choices of health care providers with shorter waiting times, which improves health outcomes. Effective regulation and monitoring of waiting times, combined with government policies aimed at reducing waiting times, are producing positive results. The time availability of the most expensive and most demanded elective surgical operations is increasing. Doctors and heads of hospitals have the opportunity, at their discretion, to set the countdown of the waiting period for planned hospitalization of patients referred to them.

Plöthner, M., Schmidt, K., de Jong, L., Zeidler, J., & Damm, K. (2019). Needs and preferences of informal caregivers regarding outpatient care for the elderly: a systematic literature review. BMC geriatrics, 19(1), 1-22.

Outpatient care includes preventive, treatment, diagnostic and rehabilitation measures aimed at reducing morbidity, disability and mortality. An important component of outpatient care is preventive examinations, medical examinations, as well as sanitary and hygienic education of the population and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The main causes of death and disability in the population are potentially preventable and are partly associated with an increase in the availability and quality of medical care. Today, the role of the primary care physician in improving the health of the population is increasing. The activity of a doctor in an outpatient clinic is aimed at identifying a disease during a preventive medical examination or seeking medical help. In addition, the doctor conducts preventive and therapeutic measures in order to prevent the development of complications of the disease, disability, and premature death.

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