Medical house call refers to medical care where a licenced doctor makes a house call to a patient’s residence after regular office hours—and it is a service that has seen a recent increase in familiarity among Australians. According to a 2017 survey enacted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, roughly a quarter of all after-hours services overseen by general practitioners (GPs) comprised of home visits as opposed to visits paid to after-hours hospital clinics. The same body saw an increase in home visits being arranged, from 13% in 2013–14 to 27% in 2016–17.
Luckily for Australians, healthcare providers have stepped up to the plate. Healthcare institutions, such as clinics and centres, have re calibrated their service models to be more accessible to the general populace. Moreover, the current technological environment has made it easy to complete a task such as searching for an after-hours doctor online and booking an appointment immediately. That kind of option decreases the time, money, and stamina that a patient would expend waiting in line at a physical clinic.
myriad advantages to medical house calls both on the part of the patient and
the doctor. To elaborate, here are 5 of the most notable ones.
- Medical house calls can even out erratic appointment calendars. Both doctors and patients often have to endure the headache of a busy consultation schedule. Patients who are already suffering from an ailment often have to compete with many others in line, and some don’t even reach the cutoff of the clinic’s service hours. On the other hand, doctors stand to lose patients and see a limit in the services that they can provide because of haphazard scheduling during clinic hours. Thus, medical house calls can be beneficial for both doctors and patients: patients can avoid the long waiting line at the clinic and still receive the care they need, while doctors can extend their service hours to their preference and maximise their billable transactions.
- Medical house calls adapt to an inevitable 24/7 way of living.The recent clamour for home-based after-hours medicine is not unfounded. In the wake of major upheavals to the labour system, for example—which now widely embraces flexible work schedules, shifts at odd hours, and remote work—life has become quicker and busier. As a consequence, people can be more prone to sickness, and it also can be harder to tap into the conventional avenues of healthcare. The availability of medical house calls is a boon to those who have tight working schedules that cannot be compromised. Even if an after-hours home visit stipulates a higher price, it is often worth it for the productive hours that are saved in the long run.
- Medical house calls decrease the risk of patients self-diagnosing or delaying treatment. If not within immediate reach of a healthcare provider at an odd time, a patient might choose to self-diagnose themselves on the internet instead. This tendency can be dangerous, as patients are likely not well-equipped to assess the true nature of potentially serious symptoms. On the flip side, if their healthcare options seem too limited, patients may also be tempted to postpone treatment for a medical concern or forego it altogether. The availability of medical house calls demonstrates that patients can benefit from a doctor’s knowledge and thoroughness at a time that it may be the most crucial.
- Medical house calls put healthcare within easier reach of the vulnerable. The ABS statistics indicate that the biggest chunk of home visits in Australia (35%) was made on behalf of children and adolescents aged 0 to 14 years old. A significant percentage of 13% was also allotted to elderly patients, or those aged 75 years old and above. These are the profiles of patients who would have difficulty going out to a hospital or clinic alone for an extended period but whose health constitution may also be more delicate than that of young to middle-aged adults. Medical house calls narrow the gap and ensure that patients under these brackets can receive full medical attention in a safe and supervised environment.
- Medical house calls afford empathy and a personal touch. An event of serious illness or injury, especially during a lull in the day, can instigate great distress. On top of their ailments, patients may feel scared, helpless, and immobile. These feelings may be amplified when it seems like no one is there and no institution can open their doors to assist them. But medical house calls enable doctors to appease these feelings, engage patients on their home ground, and keep them comfortable. Aside from treatment, doctors can also relay sensitivity and empathy toward patients—sentiments that are more easily cultivated while face-to-face than while on the phone and dealing with an automated health line.
There is a
phrase that hearkens back to the Hippocratic Oath, the oath that all doctors
take upon assuming their profession: “Into
whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick.” This
phrase takes on a new meaning in the midst of the current economic and
technological revolution, which has seen doctors break new ground in their
vocations and has made medical house calls an option for more patients.