Definition - What does Out-patient mean?
An out-patient or outpatient refers to a patient who receives care from a medical facility, such as a hospital, and is not hospitalized for more than 24 hours. Outpatients typically are not considered to be in a state of emergency.
Insuranceopedia explains Out-patient
Certain medical conditions constitute emergencies. Examples of such conditions include severe trauma, acute infections, organ failure, etc. Patients with these conditions are usually required to remain at a hospital to receive care. However, for patients who have less severe conditions, this type of urgent care is not considered necessary. Examples of conditions that may require outpatient as opposed to inpatient care are a sore throat, a cough, a sprained ankle, and other minor conditions. Medical personnel can treat these conditions without having to require an overnight or longer stay.