Can I choose a day clinic over an in-hospital stay?

Home » Can I choose a day clinic over an in-hospital stay?

At Profmed, we stay ahead of new medical trends and needs, particularly given South Africa’s complex medical landscape.

One of the more recent trends that we believe adds high value to our members is the increase in day clinics across South Africa’s metropolitan centres.

What is the difference between day clinics and hospitals?

The main distinction between day clinics and hospitals lies in the duration and intensity of care. Day clinics specialise in providing medical procedures and services that don’t require an overnight stay. In contrast, hospitals are equipped for both short-term and long-term patient care, including emergencies, surgeries requiring post-operative inpatient care, and treatments for severe illnesses.

Day clinics are ideal for certain types of medical procedures, including:

  • Minor surgical procedures like cataract surgery or arthroscopy
  • Routine screenings and diagnostic tests (e.g., mammograms, colonoscopies)
  • Some types of chemotherapy or dialysis treatments
  • Minor cosmetic procedures.

These facilities are tailored for procedures that can be done safely without the need for prolonged observation or recovery.

What are the advantages of day clinics?

Day clinics offer several benefits over in-hospital stays for certain medical procedures, particularly considering the risk of infections in hospital settings. Here are some key advantages:

Reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections: Day clinics often have a lower risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) compared to inpatient hospital stays. This is because patients spend less time in the medical facility, reducing their exposure to potential sources of infection. In hospitals, patients are more likely to be exposed to resistant bacteria and other pathogens.

Cost-effectiveness: Outpatient procedures typically cost less than those requiring hospital stays. This is due to various factors, such as reduced need for overnight accommodation and less resource utilisation within the facility. Profmed’s actuaries have extensively reviewed the numbers and bringing select day clinics into our designated service provider networks (DSPN) is a key component in our ability to control costs and keep increases to member contributions low. Selecting a day clinic for qualifying procedures is medically beneficial and cost effective.

Convenience and comfort: Day clinics often provide a more convenient and comfortable experience for patients. They can return to the comfort of their homes the same day, which can be less stressful and more conducive to recovery for many people. When patients are in a familiar environment, it can positively affect their mental and physical well-being.

Increased efficiency: Day clinics can operate more efficiently as they are often specialised in certain types of procedures. This specialisation can lead to improved outcomes and a smoother patient experience. For some procedures, waiting times at day clinics can be shorter than in hospitals, leading to quicker treatments as well.

Lowered system burden: By handling certain procedures in outpatient settings, the burden on hospitals is reduced. This allows hospitals to focus resources on patients who need more intensive care.

Important questions to ask before selecting a day clinic

It’s important to note that while day clinics offer many benefits, they are not suitable for all types of procedures or patients. The decision between a day clinic and an in-hospital stay should be made based on your specific medical needs and circumstances, often in consultation with healthcare professionals.

Here are a few key questions you should cover when deciding …

Is the facility equipped for my specific needs? Ensure the facility has the necessary equipment and expertise for your procedure.

What is the risk of infection? Ask about infection rates, especially if you have underlying conditions that could make you more susceptible.

What are the costs? Compare the costs between a day clinic and hospital for your procedure, including insurance cover. You should also review whether the day clinic is part of your medical aid’s network.

What does recovery entail? Understand the recovery process and whether it can be managed at home.

Is there a follow-up care plan? Ensure there is a clear plan for follow-up appointments or emergency care if needed. Profmed offers Healing@Home, which is specifically designed to support home recovery.

What do patient reviews and outcomes say? Research patient experiences and outcomes for both the facility and the specific procedure.

To find out more about Profmed’s Day Procedure Network, and to find the nearest day facility in your area, visit:

To find out more about Healing@Home, visit