August 25, 2023
Hospital volumes shifting to outpatient and home-based settings
The pandemic accelerated the outpatient shift, which had been progressing steadily for decades, into a new gear, as safety-minded consumers avoided inpatient settings. Using the latest forecasting data from strategic healthcare consulting firm Sg2, the graphic below illustrates how the outpatient shift will continue to accelerate in the coming years. With each projected to grow by 20 percent or more, outpatient, virtual, and home-based care services will continue far outpace growth in hospital-based care over the next decade. Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) will be at the center of this care shift, reflected by a projected 25 percent rise in ASC volumes by 2032. The breadth of care available at home will also expand as care delivery technology improves. With the population becoming older and sicker, higher incidence of chronic disease will be met by a rapid expansion of home evaluation and management services (E&M), reflecting a shift away from hospitals and doctors’ offices as hubs for complex care management. Instead, the patients still coming to hospitals will present with increasingly acute conditions, driving up demand for resource-intensive critical care, as broader inpatient volume remains relatively flat.