Difference Between Outpatient and Inpatient

Outpatient vs Inpatient

Outpatient and Inpatient are two terms that are used in the field of medical science and hospitalization. They are two kinds of patients that are differently seen in the hospitals. An outpatient for that matter is treated in the hospital as a patient that has visited the hospital for consultation. On the other hand an inpatient is treated in the hospital only after admission. This is one of the main differences between outpatient and inpatient.

An inpatient gets admission into the hospital upon his arrival at the premises of the hospital. He would spend a certain period of time in the hospital and is given a room to stay in the premises. He is attended to regularly by the doctors that are appointed by the hospital. A record of the various results conducted on him is maintained by the hospital authorities.

On the other hand an outpatient leaves the premises of the hospital after consulting a doctor that visits the hospital or that is appointed by the hospital. Unlike the inpatient he does not spend a certain period of time (days) in the hospital.

An inpatient gets discharged once he is cured of his ailment or disease. On the other hand an outpatient does not experience the event of getting discharged since he or she never gets admitted in the hospital for treatment.

The reason for an outpatient getting treated without getting admitted is that the seriousness of the disease or the injury is not very high. On the other hand the seriousness of the disease or an injury is very high in the case of the inpatient. This is the reason why he is admitted into the hospital before the treatment begins.

Sometimes the decision whether a patient falls under the category of outpatient or inpatient is taken upon his arrival in the hospital premises. If the doctors feel that his injury or the disease can be treated without his getting admission into the hospital then he is treated as an outpatient.

On the other hand if the doctor feels that he can be treated only if he gets admitted into the hospital then he is said to be treated like an inpatient. It is quite natural that an inpatient gets all the help from the hospital. He can buy medicine from the pharmacy attached to the hospital, have all his tests conducted in the clinical laboratory attached to the hospital and enjoy the other facilities in the hospital such as books and magazines, television in the room, meals on wheels and the like.

On the other hand sometimes the outpatient has to buy medicine from any other pharmacy and has his tests conducted in a clinical laboratory away from the hospital. These are the various differences between an inpatient and an outpatient.

  • ak

    thanks for the clarification as some of us aren’t in the medical profession