The House Call Is Back! (But This Isn’t Your Grandparents’ House Call)
Posted by admin & filed under digital diagnosis, virtual doctor, Health Informatics, patient care, healthcare technology, telemedicine, online doctor's visits, health care access, remote medicine, healthcare technolgoies.
Not long ago, house calls by doctors were a common occurrence. As recently as our grandparents’ generation, women delivered babies at home. Doctors came to the house to diagnose and treat ailments like colds, cuts, and other common health concerns.
Eventually, house calls have disappeared. They’ve been replaced with long waits in offices or emergency rooms. Patients still have and should go to the emergency room for dire circumstances these days. However, tables are turning on the average office visit. New technologies once again make the house call an appealing option for patients and doctors. Thanks to advances in technology, telemedicine has brought the house calls back. This isn’t your grandparents’ house call, it’s a whole new way of seeing the doctor.
Telemedicine is changing the way doctors do business. Health records are now stored electronically. Doctors can communicate with patients in remote areas via video chats. Recent emergences of smartphone apps allow patients to schedule a doctor’s appointment online and have virtual visits.
How does it work and why are more doctors returning to house calls?
How it Works
The concept is simple. Patients sign up through their doctor’s office for the telemedicine visit. An app can also be used. The patient requests an online visit, enters applicable medical information and payment information (unless the patient’s insurance information has been stored with the doctor, then insurance can be used*), and receive an appointment for at-home or at-work care. Available doctors respond to requests and schedule in house calls as they see fit. In some cases, patients are charged a flat fee for the visit. Visits are not always covered by insurance.
During the in-home visit, doctors can diagnose certain medical conditions like pink eye, ear infection, sore throat, etc., provide treatment, and dispense medications. They can make judgments about whether patients should schedule an in-office visit for follow-up or seek emergency care.
Benefits to Doctors
The benefits of in-home visits for sick patients are obvious and doctors participate for many reasons. They may want new revenue sources without having to buy or rent new space. They may have patients who have challenges with coming back for follow up visits after surgery or other treatments. They may want a change in their regular day to day schedule and telemedicine is something different that offers that change.
Whatever their reasons, in-home visits give doctors the opportunity to interact with patients in an environment where the patient feels most comfortable. Doctors may even be able to assess environmental factors that could be contributing to illness.
Telemedicine offers both convenience and flexibility for doctors and patients alike without sacrificing quality of care. With telemedicine technology the house call will be the norm, not the exception!
*State insurance regulations vary. Check with your provider for details about insurance reimbursement.