The most common reasons for hospital observation status are:
- to rule out a diagnosis that, if ruled in, would require hospitalization, or
- to manage prolonged post-procedure problems, such as prolonged vomiting or intractable pain.
It is inappropriate to admit patients to observation for such things as outpatient transfusions or for routine recovery from outpatient procedures. It is also inappropriate to write preoperative orders for an elective procedure that includes postoperative observation, as observation should only occur in exceptional cases.