Sample Health Care Critical Thinking Paper on Comparative analysis of Ambulatory Care Settings in the United States

Comparative analysis of Ambulatory Care Settings in the United States

Comparative analysis of Ambulatory Care Settings in the United States

            Ambulatory care is defined by the fact that patients are able to go home after receiving treatment. The healthcare setting is among the fastest growing segments in the United States due to its convenience. One of the primary factors that have led to an increase in ambulatory care is advancement in medical technology. The types of ambulatory care settings differ with the interventions and sub-specialties within them. This paper describes seven main types of ambulatory care settings and the importance of the same in the healthcare environment today. The paper also discusses the main differences between free-standing versus hospital-based settings. It also discusses the models of ambulatory care settings that are related to the environment.

            Urgent care clinic is the first type of ambulatory care setting that is used to attend to patients who are critically ill but whose ailment does not require the emergency room services. The second type is called the outpatient surgical centers, where the patients go home after the surgery (Woltmann et al., 2012). The setting is mainly used for minor surgeries that do not require close monitoring after they are complete. The third type of the healthcare setting is the radiology and imaging which is performed to identify the main problem of the patient. The practice is offered on outpatient basis in ambulatory care where the patients are given the necessary advice based on the diagnostic imaging. Physical and rehabilitation clinic is the fourth type of the healthcare setting which provides a wide range of services to the community.  The clinics help in facilitating the recovery process after an injury, stress and other health problems.

Renal dialysis center is the fifth type of setting that mainly focuses on restoring health to patients with kidney failure. The process facilitates the removal of excess waste from the body, a function that would otherwise be performed by the kidney. The sixth type of the setting is the cosmetic surgery, aimed at reconstructing the body to facilitate its natural functioning. A patient may require the reconstruction due to birth defects, burns and injuries such as burns. The seventh type is the oncology clinic or center that is mainly meant to provide healthcare services to cancer patients who do not need to be hospitalized.

            Ambulatory care contributes greatly to the healthcare sector today by facilitating the access of health care. In some cases, patients feel better having their family members close when they are ill and ambulatory care makes this happen. The patients can go home after treatment thus making them more comfortable.  The cost of healthcare services that one incurs in ambulatory care is less than in the other health care settings as it excludes costs such as accommodation.  The low cost of services promotes a healthy nation as majority of the citizens are able to afford the cost, even if they may not be insured. 

Although the Affordable Care Act is implemented in the country, there are still poor populations that cannot afford regular healthcare facilities (Murray & Frenk, 2010). These populations find the ambulatory care very useful.  With the high level of competition in the modern world, the main focus of many countries is to improve their economic growth and this can only be achieved by a healthy nation. This implies that ambulatory care has the potential to enhance economic development of a country. The services provided by the healthcare setting such as rehabilitation and cosmetic surgery helps in enhancing the quality of life for individuals.

            The free-standing versus hospital-based settings are similar in the sense that both are concerned with enhancing the quality of lives for the patients. The medical attention given to the patients in the two settings is meant to make their lives more dignified. However, the two settings differ mainly due to the cost of services offered.  Patients who use the free-standing setting incur less cost compared to those who use hospital-based setting. The difference in cost is mainly brought about by the variation in services provided.  The other difference between the two settings is the level of technology used. Free-standing setting uses simple technology while hospital-based setting uses more sophisticated technology, a fact that makes the cost of services more (Murray & Frenk, 2010). The ambulatory care settings reimbursement and patient satisfaction models explain the significance of the healthcare setting in the environment. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the United States helps in making the reimbursement for the healthcare expenses possible. This helps the low income individuals in the society access health care services. The different types of ambulatory care settings help enhance the satisfaction of patients through convenient and cheaper cost of services.  

            In conclusion, ambulatory care settings play a major role in enhancing the quality of life for the patients. The different types of the healthcare settings are important in providing the necessary care that patients need. Compared to the hospital-based setting, the free-standing setting is more convenient for the low income families due to its low cost and convenience.


Murray, C. J. & Frenk, J. (2010). Ranking 37th—measuring the performance of the US     health care system. New England Journal of Medicine362(2), 98-99.

Woltmann, E., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Perron, B., Georges, H., Kilbourne, A. M., & Bauer, M. S.      (2012). Comparative effectiveness of collaborative chronic care models for mental             health conditions across primary, specialty, and behavioral health care settings:            systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry169(8), 790-          804.