Once reserved for the severely ill, a near-obsolete healthcare practice has re-emerged and is growing in popularity – the house call doctor. Is this a fad born out of the pandemic, or a practical solution to many of the problems faced by modern healthcare? Read on to decide for yourself.
The challenges of insurance-based healthcare
Many doctors are frustrated with the extreme administrative and financial burden of battling with insurance companies. Practices that accept insurance typically need well-staffed administrative teams to handle the volume. To cover the costs of administrative staff and low compensation from insurance companies, practices are often forced to squeeze more appointments into their week. More patients means more insurance claims and a heavier burden on existing administrative staff, trapping practitioners into a vicious cycle.
Patients are just as frustrated, as they rely on Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) to fill prescriptions, make referrals, and guide them toward long term health goals. The average office visit only allows 10-15 minutes of face time with your doctor- a woefully insufficient amount of time to assess the concern that brought a patient into the office, much less discuss long term health goals. Doctors are further stretched when insurance companies push back against prescribed medications and treatments, trying to force doctors to prescribe something cheaper, even if the patient’s health ultimately suffers for it.
The dangers of insurers trying to play doctor go beyond administrative battles, as evidenced by the pandemic. Insurance companies typically only offer reimbursement to doctors if they meet with the patient, forcing doctors to have patients come in when they don’t have to. Encouraging people to gather in a small indoor space to seek treatment for infectious illnesses doesn’t make much sense, especially when people seeking preventative health care are made to wait in those same spaces. Busy practices often run behind on appointments, meaning that waits can even exceed an hour, putting you in close contact with contagious people for an extended time.
How mobile concierge care is different
Concierge healthcare is essentially a cash for payment service, typically offering two payment methods – Paying upfront per service, or paying a monthly membership fee that includes a specific range of at-home services. While that may seem expensive in the short term, it can often save patients money in the long run.
Using technology to enhance care
House call doctors offer more access than just longer appointment times. Many supplement house calls with telemedicine, further increasing patient access. Because there is no insurance barrier, doctors are able to give test results and answer simple questions without the need for an appointment.
Patients who feel comfortable with their doctors and who can easily access them are less likely to procrastinate in bringing up health concerns – which means early intervention can reduce the likelihood of dealing with severe illness that is traumatic and expensive to treat later.
Helping manage chronic and co-morbid conditions
If you are juggling multiple health issues, trying to manage multiple specialists and appointments is frequently overwhelming. Concierge care at home may be able to help you manage the load. Because mobile providers have more time and resources to dedicate to each patient, they may be able to help manage treatments or prescriptions that a standard practice would typically write a referral for, reducing the number of doctors you have to deal with.
Some house call doctors also offer dedicated care coordinators to help keep your prescriptions, appointments, and treatment plans on track. Those with mobility issues can especially benefit; these services can help people maintain agency over their healthcare without having to burden loved ones with requests for help. And since services are offered in-home, families don’t have to worry about accidents or issues in transportation.
A wide variety of services
House call practices often offer services beyond primary and urgent care that benefit general wellness. Some examples include:
- IV therapy that can boost energy, fight aging, and help with recovery from workout and illness
- Diagnostic tests like EKGs, echocardiograms, x-rays, and ultrasounds
- Lab tests can identify allergens and food sensitivities, detect hormone imbalances and vitamin deficiencies
- Cosmetic treatments like botox, hair restoration, and microneedling- convenient and discrete
A wide range of lifestyles and medical needs can benefit from having a house call doctor in New York and other major US cities. Consider booking a house call the next time you need an appointment!