Health United States 2020-2021

Outpatient visit

Measured differently in the following data systems:

American Hospital Association

Defines outpatient visits as visits for receipt of medical, dental, or other services at a hospital by patients who are not lodged in the hospital. Each appearance by an outpatient to each unit of the hospital is counted individually as an outpatient visit, including all clinic visits, referred visits, observation services, outpatient surgeries, and emergency department visits.

National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey

Defines an outpatient department visit as a direct personal exchange between a patient (not currently admitted to the hospital) and a physician or other health care provider working under the physician’s supervision for the purpose of seeking care and receiving personal health services.

(Also see Sources and Definitions, Emergency department or emergency room visit; Outpatient department.)

Page last reviewed: August 12, 2022