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Inpatient Hospitalisation Vs Outpatient Hospitalisation

Navigating the choice between inpatient and outpatient hospitalization is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions.

  • 07 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read

Not sure about the difference between inpatient and outpatient hospitalisation? It’s important to understand both terms in case you need to undergo treatment and make a claim under your health insurance policy. The difference between these two services can be tricky to grasp, as both options come with certain restrictions. Understanding your needs clearly is the first step in making an informed decision that works best for you or your loved ones. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each option – from their definitions to what they entail – so you can make an educated decision on which is right for you! Keep reading to learn more about inpatient vs outpatient hospitalisation.


What is inpatient hospitalisation?

Inpatient hospitalisation is when a patient is admitted for an overnight stay (24 hours or more) to a hospital for medical treatment. This may be for in-depth monitoring and observation either briefly or for an extended period of time. Inpatient hospitalisation may be required in case of a medical emergency and for pre-planned surgeries or treatment such as:

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Stroketreatment
  • Critical illnesses like cancer
  • Heart attacktreatment
  • Hip bone fracture
  • Respiratory system failure
  • Septicemia
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Orthopaedic surgeries
  • Cardiac surgeries

Inpatient care is more expensive than outpatient care because of room rent, medical treatment, as well as food and lodging in the hospital. It includes many other expenses, beyond the costs of the actual treatment and doctor’s charges. Inpatient care often deals with serious ailments that require 24/7 monitoring, and a longer time of recovery. Most hospitalisation treatment falls under this category, and in-patient hospitalisation is covered under the benefits of health insurance.

What is outpatient hospitalisation?

The term outpatient refers to someone who receives medical care without being admitted for an overnight stay at the hospital. Some outpatient procedures can even be performed at the doctor’s clinic or an outpatient surgery centre. These procedures include:

  • Doctor consultations
  • Tests such as X-rays, blood tests, CT scan, MRIs, etc.
  • Dental procedures such as cavity removal, root canal treatment, tooth extraction and related surgeries
  • Minor surgeries & treatments like stitches for injuries, wounds, etc.
  • Chemotherapy
  • Kidney dialysis and other treatments for long-term diseases

Outpatient hospitalisation incurs lower costs since these are minor treatments, performed faster, and may not include room rent. This type of hospitalisation can also help the patient to minimise the risk of opportunistic infections associated with staying in a hospital. It is important to note that most outpatient hospitalisations are not covered under health insurance plans.

Also read:

Difference between inpatient hospitalisation and outpatient hospitalisation

Certain factors that help us differentiate between inpatient hospitalisation and outpatient hospitalisation are listed in the table below:


Inpatient Hospitalisation

Outpatient Hospitalisation


Patient receives treatment and surgical procedures by being admitted to a hospital for a continuous period of 24 hours or more.

Patient receives medical treatment without being admitted into a hospital, or gets admitted and discharged on the same day.

Type of medical care

Long-term or complex treatment processes


Short-term medical care


Usually more expensive as it includes the cost of treatment, medical facility, food and lodging etc.

Costs are substantially lesser than inpatient care.

Healthcare professionals

Involves specialists and a larger group of doctor teams like physicians, surgeons, anaesthesia doctors, radiologists, cardiologists and physical therapists etc.

Involves primary care physicians and specialists, pathologists, technicians, nursing staff, pharmacists, etc.


Whenever you need treatment for an illness or injury, your doctor will be able to decide whether to you need to go for inpatient or outpatient hospitalisation. It’s always helpful to check your health insurance terms and conditions to know which procedures are covered under both these hospitalisation types.

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