Hospital marketing departments may want to concentrate more on outpatient services than ever before, according to the findings of a study released by HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare research firm, and the national accounting firm Arthur Andersen.
Although U.S. hospitals derive more than 31% of their revenues from outpatient sources, greater influence from managed care will continue to bolster the utilization of outpatient services, the study said.
The average use rate of outpatient services and procedures was 132 occurrences per 1,000 population. However, use rates varied considerably according to state. States such as California and Arizona recorded rates of 73 and 90 per 1,000 residents, respectively, while Southern states such as Tennessee and Alabama reported rates of 178 and 190 per 1,000 residents, the highest in the study.
"By quantifying the magnitude of the potential inpatient-to-outpatient shift of diagnostic and surgical procedures in the hospital environment in each market area, we have built a framework for hospitals to use in analyzing their own situations," said Jean Chenoweth, vice president of HCIA. "We found that the migration of services from an inpatient to an outpatient basis was occurring much faster than conventional industry wisdom has led us to believe."
The study, Outpatient Utilization Profile, also reported that regions of the country that have been co-existing with managed care for an extended period of time had a greater proportion of procedures performed on an outpatient basis.