Article originally published on Multi Briefs by
Lisa Mulcahy

In today’s modern healthcare environment, you may think that house calls have gone the way of the horse and buggy.

Not so: research shows that in recent years, the number of house calls made to out-of-the-office Medicare patients has more than doubled. Interestingly, this same study notes that those house calls are made by a smaller number of physicians than in previous years — leading to plentiful care opportunities for doctors who do practice in the real world.

Also, for a senior who’s expressed discomfort when being transported to your office, or to a busy mom who can’t take off work to bring her kids in when she thinks they may have strep, scheduling a convenient appointment at home can make the difference between your patients receiving the care they need or skipping medical treatment altogether.

Let’s take a closer look at how establishing a house call component in your primary care practice can further benefit your patients — and how it can help your practice flourish further as well.

House call care can lower health costs

An analysis of Medicare data found that patients who receive at-home physician care require 9 percent fewer hospitalizations, 20 percent fewer emergency department visits, 23 percent fewer sub-specialty visits and 27 percent less skilled nursing care.

House calls allow doctors to observe and improve patient safety

This is according to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Through the lens of seeing patients perform routine daily activities in their most familiar environment, doctors can check to make sure they’re taking their medications properly, eating nutritiously and aren’t at undue risks for accidents or falls.

After such observation, a doctor can then work with the patient and/or the patient’s caregiver to make any necessary improvements or changes.

House calls can help build skills in young doctors

Many teaching hospitals, such as a model program at Mount Sinai in New York City, involve residents in home care visits, garnering good results when it comes to hands-on skill-building and the patient communication experience.

House calls can be profitable for your practice

According to research from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine home-based primary care requires very little overhead.

Really, all you need is a cellphone, laptop and instrument bag. Plus, if you have more than one provider at your practice, you can offer care to many additional patients at local organizations and businesses.

Doctors often expand their services to treat employees at offices and restaurants, plus guests at local hotels — the sky’s really the limit in terms of providing personalized medical treatment.

House calls build instant rapport

To a patient, having a doctor who makes the time to travel to them is always greatly appreciated — there’s no better way for a physician to show compassion and goodwill, which should always be your goal!

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