Should Doctors Be on Call Again?

doctor on the phone

Do you remember the time when doctors would make house calls to the sick and injured? There was a time you wouldn’t need to travel for an hour to go to the doctor’s clinic. You didn’t have to wait for weeks to get a schedule, either. All you have to do is to send a messenger that you need a physician, and the doctor will come knocking on your door. Easy, right?

Today, this practice is being revived. Think of it as the many home services franchises out on the market now. Basically, what you need to do is to sign up for an account in an app such as Heal, complete your medical history as accurately as you can, and choose the medical practitioner you want to call on you. In a few hours, your doctor will come knocking on your door.

It may be more expensive than making an appointment and letting your insurance pay for everything. Most medical services apps have a booking app every time you book an appointment. That does not include the doctor’s fee and any other medicine that will be prescribed to you.

The Revival of House Calls

So why is the medical industry going back to this old practice? In the 1930s, more than 40% of doctor-patient meetings happened through house calls. By the 1980s, this was down to just 0.6% because many doctors were in more specialized fields. Also, technology changed the demands of physicians. For them, house calls were inconvenient.

Many doctors are still opposed to the idea of making house calls again. Although it eliminates the need for a clinic and staff, house calls are time-consuming. But there’s a phenomenon happening all over the world right now. It’s the phenomenon of convenient services. People crave convenience. They are so busy with careers and families that they can barely drag themselves to the doctor.

doctors at the hospital

That’s why app such as Heal and Doctors on Call—which was also acquired by Heal—exist. They are filling a niche that a decade ago wouldn’t have existed. They are bringing the power back to the patients. They want people to choose the time when they’ll see the physician, as well as who they want to see. On the app, they can choose the medical practitioner according to their accomplishments, specializations, and ratings.

There Is Scientific Significance to House Calls

There is a reason house calls could be more effective than a patient visiting a doctor’s clinic. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that house calls give the physicians a clear picture of the patient’s environment and health issues. It allows physicians to make better diagnoses and recommend proper treatment options.

The data is incomplete. On the one hand, house calls by nurses lower the mortality rate in a community. But there was no decrease in hospitalizations. Think about it: what ill effects on a patient’s health could house calls do? After all, minus the stress of making an appointment and traveling to the doctor’s clinic, the patients would have been halfway to recovery during a house call.

Medical practitioners predict that by 2030, doctors will make more house calls than stay in a clinic or hospital. The trend is certainly catching fire. People are too busy with their lives that they need all the convenience they can get.

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