Ambulatory care, also known as outpatient care, is medical care provided on an outpatient basis, including observation, consultation, diagnosis, rehabilitation, intervention, and treatment services. Ambulatory care includes primary care, ambulatory surgery, emergency care, and others. Ambulatory surgery is defined as surgical and diagnostic intervention that does not require overnight hospital stay. Ambulatory surgery and emergency centers provide surgical and emergency medical services for outpatients and do not require hospitalization. These centers have developed into an excellent option for the general public for minor and serious surgeries, and therefore, insurance companies plan to capitalize on the growth of this industry. These centers have facilities with advanced equipment that help in providing services such as cataract and arthroscopic surgeries.
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The global ambulatory care market is expected to be driven by increase in adoption and demand for minimally invasive surgery, technological advancements, and surge in demand to reduce hospital stay and overall health care cost. Rise in government and medical professional bodies’ initiatives to promote ambulatory care services are some of the factors likely to drive the growth of the market in the forecast period. The aging population in developed countries is a growing burden on the healthcare infrastructure. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 8.5% of the global population, or 617 million, was aged 65 and above in 2015 and this percentage is projected to increase to 17% (1.6 billion) by 2050. However, lack of adequate medical facilities and favorable reimbursement policies for inpatient surgeries as compared to outpatient surgeries in developing countries are expected to hamper the growth of the global ambulatory care market.
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The global ambulatory care market can be segmented based on type of services, application, and region. In terms of type of services, the market can be classified into primary care, emergency, surgical/specialty, and others. The primary care segment is expected to account for larger market share owing to increase in patient preference and less waiting time. Based on application, the global ambulatory care market can be categorized into general practice, gastroenterology surgery, ophthalmology surgery, orthopedic surgery, spinal surgery, plastic surgery, and others. The general practice segment is likely to account for significant market share due to increase in number of ambulatory and emergency care centers, technological advancements, and high quality, cost-effective, and time saving approach.
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In terms of region, the global ambulatory care market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America was a significant market for ambulatory care in 2017 and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. North America’s dominance is attributed to aging population and increase in number of surgeries performed at ambulatory surgery centers. According to the American Hospital Association, 66% of the all surgeries at community hospitals in the U.S. was performed in ambulatory surgery settings in 2014 as compared to 57% in 1994. Europe was also a significant market for ambulatory care in 2017, due to increasing advancements in technologies that enable health care professionals to perform multiple minimally invasive surgical procedures in a single day. For example, advent of minimally invasive surgeries such as laparoscopic procedures has permitted complex surgeries such as gallbladder and hysterectomy surgeries to be done in reduced time. Increase in demand to cut down health care cost, aging population, surge in demand for minimally invasive surgery, and rise in health care expenditure are projected to boost the growth of the ambulatory care market in Asia Pacific during the forecast period. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), one in four people in Asia Pacific will be 60 years old or older by 2050. The region is experiencing population aging at an unprecedented pace, with the number of older persons expected to more than double, from 535 million in 2015 to 1.3 billion by 2050.
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Key players operating in the global ambulatory care market are AmSurg Corp., IntegraMed America, Inc., Aspen Healthcare, Healthway Medical Group, Surgery Partners, and Medical Facilities Corporation.
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