|House calls, often seen as a costly and time-consuming thing of the past, have all but disappeared in Canada over the past several decades. However, some signs indicate that they may be poised for a rebound, particularly as an estimated 9% of the entire Canadian population will be over 85 in 2050. The medical implications of this rapidly aging population certainly haven’t been lost on our politicians: during the last provincial election, Ontario’s Liberals promised to bring medical house calls back to the mainstream to better serve those who find it difficult to leave their homes.There are several reasons patients are homebound, whether it be disability, decreased mobility, chronic illness or old age. For many of these individuals, access to preventative care visits is out of the question because leaving the house is difficult, if not impossible. This results in skipped appointments, which in the long run opens people up to the risk of missing warning signs of more serious and costly health problems until it is too late. The consequences could be serious health concerns and a strain on public health care resources that quite possibly could have been prevented with a house call.|
Pitfalls to house calls
Also, some health care professionals much prefer office time to the time spent travelling in the car that is required for home visits. And house calls necessitate a great deal of paperwork in order to meet the requirements for home health care, hospice, durable medical equipment and social services.
Benefits of house calls
Get everyone on board
Spread the word
Include information about this new service on your website and on your company’s voice message system. Highlight some of the benefits of house calls on promotional giveaways such as a pill box or a first aid kit that can be given to patients at each office visit.
Finally, make sure you measure and monitor your progress. Have house calls helped your practice to increase the number of kept appointments by your homebound patients? Are you seeing a decrease in hospitalizations for this population and a correlation between early intervention and better health? If so, the adoption of house calls has had a profound impact on your patients and can be considered a success.
Mickleburgh, Rod. “The doctor’s house call: An old-fashioned remedy for health care’s rising costs.” The Globe and Mail. Web. 8 May 2012.
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