Moving patient care from inpatient to outpatient settings is a transformative trend for US hospitals. Inpatient and outpatient are terms used to describe care or facilities available to patients. Some medical facilities, like hospitals, may offer both types of care, depending upon the needs of the persons involved. Outpatient care refers to services offered to an individual that does not involve an overnight stay in a medical facility. The typical visit to a doctor’s office is outpatient, but so is a surgery in a hospital where the patient returns home the same day. An inpatient is a patient who must be hospitalized for at least one night in order to receive medical treatment.
Inpatients are often in the hospital for surgical procedures, or for monitoring after accidents or serious medical events, which compromised their health in some way.