Ambulatory care

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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 physicians include specialists in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics, gynaecology, cardiology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, and dermatology.
Hospital emergency departments
Some visits to emergency departments result in hospital admission, so these would be considered emergency medicine visits rather than ambulatory care. Most visits to hospital emergency departments, however, do not require hospital admission. Many of these visits are not true emergencies and are better seen in an urgent care center.
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.

Ambulatory Care Classifications

Ambulatory care is generally classifiable in two groups:

1. Medical institution-based settings, including:
Ambulatory care clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and emergency medical services.

2. Non-medical institution-based settings, including:
School and prison health; vision, dental and pharmaceutical care.

External links

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