Shift from inpatient to outpatient care

Trend 4. Shift from inpatient to outpatient care driven by implementation of Modern Medicine

Ongoing technological developments and improvements in healthcare have contributed to both increased life expectancy and an increased number of treatment methods available to patients. As modern treatment methods are developed, the need for inpatient care is generally reduced. This also gives increased opportunities for outpatient treatment of patients and thus leads to a shift in volumes from inpatient to outpatient care. This in turn leads to the release of capacity and resources, enabling more patients to receive care of high quality at the same cost for the healthcare system. The share of outpatient care for certain treatment areas varies considerably among European countries. In France, for example, the share of costs related to outpatients has increased from 32% in 2007 to 42% in 2013. During 2013, the corresponding shares were 51% in Germany and 60% in Sweden.1 In France, this switch from inpatient to outpatient care is expected to continue, and patient volumes within outpatient care are assessed to increase, with positive effects on medical quality and productivity.

1 OECD Health at a Glance 2015.