Home Medicine articles Ambulatory care
Ambulatory care is any medical care
delivered on an outpatient basis. Many
medical conditions do not require hospital admission
and can be managed without admission to a hospital.
Many medical investigations can be performed on an ambulatory
basis, including blood tests, X-rays, endoscopy
and even biopsy procedures of superficial organs.
Sites where ambulatory care
can be delivered include:
Physician offices: This is the most
common site for the delivery of ambulatory care. Physicians
of many specialties deliver ambulatory care. These physcians
include specialists in family medicine, internal
medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, cardiology, gastroenterology,
ophthalmology, dermatologists, and many other specialties.
Hospital emergency departments: Some visits
to emergency departments result in hospital admission, so these
would be considered emergency medicine visits rather than ambulatory
care. Many visits to hospital emergency departments, however,
do not require hospital admission. Most emergency department
visits, however, do not involve admission to the hospital. Many
of these visits are not true emergencies and are better seen
in an urgent care centers.
Urgent care centers:
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) estimates
that over 15,000 urgent care centers deliver urgent
care in the USA. These centers are designed to evaluate
and treat conditions that are not severe enough to require
treatment in a hospital emergency department but still
require treatment beyond normal physician office hours
or before a physician appointment is available.