Outpatient Hyperbaric Clinics

Like hospital-based treatment centers, outpatient hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) clinics are staffed and equipped to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. Outpatient facilities also vary widely in the range of services they provide and the conditions they treat.

Integrated with a hospital or healthcare system, the outpatient clinic is convenient for patients who would like to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy through their managed care program. Outpatient HBOT is also a good choice for patients whose conditions may require other hospital services in addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Unlike hospital-based treatment centers, outpatient facilities do not treat patients admitted to a hospital bed and do not treat conditions requiring emergency or intensive care. Outpatients must travel to the facility for each treatment, so distance and other travel considerations can influence the choice of treatment center.

Outpatient clinics are often physically separate from the affiliated hospital’s main inpatient facilities. While offering convenience in parking and getting to the chamber, this can require more travel if the patient also needs services from the hospital’s primary location.

Hyperbaric Treatment

Like hospitals, outpatient treatment centers usually provide treatment for approved medical conditions. Many outpatient HBOT clinics operate as part of advanced wound care centers, offering comprehensive treatment of diabetic ulcers and other nonhealing wounds. The most common conditions treated by outpatient treatment centers are:

  • Chronic wounds
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Radionecrosis (radiation injuries resulting from cancer treatment)
  • Skin grafts and flaps
  • Traumatic ischemias (loss of blood flow to tissue as a result of injury)

Doctors and Medical Staff

The medical staff of a hospital-based treatment center is usually led by one or more physicians with a specialty certification in hyperbaric medicine as well as other certifications in related disciplines, such as emergency medicine, preventive care, surgery, or pulmonary medicine. Nurses and hyperbaric technicians are usually certified in hyperbaric treatment, wound care, and other relevant medical disciplines.

Many outpatient treatment centers are managed by companies specializing in wound care and hyperbaric medicine. These companies provide best practices in clinical care, administrative procedures, staff training, and other resources that help healthcare providers run efficient and effective hyperbaric medicine programs.

Hyperbaric Chambers

Many outpatient hyperbaric treatment centers, particularly those focusing on wound care, use monoplace hyperbaric chambers exclusively. In a monoplace chamber, which treats one patient at a time, the atmosphere during treatment is 100% oxygen. Ambient oxygenation is thought to provide additional wound healing benefits, as extra oxygen reaches the wound both topically and via the bloodstream.

Some outpatient treatment centers use multiplace chambers. Because these chambers can hold multiple people, clinical staff can accompany patients during treatment. Multiplace chambers also provide more options for positioning the patient during treatment.

 Learn more about hyperbaric chamber types and their benefits.

Hyperbaric Chamber Types

Accreditation and Certification

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) has accredited a limited number of outpatient hyperbaric treatment centers. UHMS accredited centers have met rigorous standards for clinical practice, patient safety, and other criteria.

Most physicians and other clinicians practicing in outpatient centers are certified by the UHMS, American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, or other professional associations in hyperbaric medicine or related specialties, such as wound care.

Cost

Fees for hyperbaric treatment in outpatient clinics are comparable to hospital-based hyperbaric oxygen treatment centers. A single 90-minute treatment may cost $1,000 or more. But hyperbaric oxygen therapy in hospitals is commonly covered by insurance, and the negotiated reimbursement rate may be substantially lower.

Treatment Center Directory

The HyperbaricLink directory provides extensive information about participating hyperbaric treatment centers, including:

  • treatment center type
  • practice areas and capabilities
  • accreditations and certifications
  • clinical staff
  • hyperbaric chamber types
  • hours of operation
  • map and directions
  • contact information

 Use the directory to learn more about hyperbaric facilities in your area.

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Updated: 31 Aug 2015 01:02 PM
Created: 08 Oct 2010 12:00 AM
By: About the authors »