On the news the last few days have been several stories of contacting a doctor through an app and in some areas doctors and NP’s have returned to house calls. My personal thoughts is that this is a very good shift in personal medical care, however there are some doctors who are saying the “sky is falling” over this shift. They are making claims that care is diminished, or dangers of misdiagnoses, worries of patient not telling the truth, etc.
Here are the current facts.
Mother of two children makes an appointment with her doctor for 11:30 in the morning. She spends her morning preparing the children and then fights traffic to get to the doctors office. Once there she “signs in” and is asked “have you been here before?’” The question bothers her since this is the same doctor that delivered her children. Annoyed she answers “yes, he has been our doctor for more than 10 years”. The rep’s reply, “well the turn over in the office is high and it’s hard to remember everyone.”
The mother takes her seat and waits.
At 12:15 she approaches the counter, “I’m sorry (she apologizes when she is in the right) but my appointment was at 11:30, why the delay?”
“The doctor is behind and currently he went to lunch, but when he returns you are next on the list.”
“Can I take my kids to lunch?”
“Well if you leave we’ll need to reschedule your appointment.”
This is very typical visit to most PCP’s, but there are other concerns.
In today’s world many resistant bacteria exist, doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals are replete with cases of people going in with a minor case and later dying from a deadly infection.
Here are the logical benefits of video doctors and the return to home doctor’s visits.
1) The first and most obvious, lower medical cost. A video visit and a rolling home doctor (no building office) has lower overhead and thus lower cost. This is a cheaper option for cash paying patients and insurance companies.
2) The benefits to mothers goes without explanation. An in home visit for a mother is a blessing beyond measure to her. Her stress level is dropped and thus the children are less stressed.
3) Safer; by not entering a clinic or office the chance of catching or spreading a deadly bacteria infection drops to near zero. Considering this fact alone is justification for more options for in home visits. The lessened effect of spreading illness far outweighs any reason a doctor can create to dismiss home visits.
4) As to misdiagnoses; I have faced this IN the office. I have been misdiagnosed with several life threatening illnesses, even cancer, more than once. I have been misdiagnosed with 5 life threatening illnesses, operated in the wrong side and told I had cancer several times, by different doctors. I am a firm believer in second opinions.
5) As to a patient not telling the truth to exaggerate their symptoms. Off the top. People who lie to doctors about symptoms or an illness want the whole experience. Hypochondriacs need more than a home visit. People who use video or home visits are not in the same category.
From listening to the complaints of doctors who oppose video visits or home visits I think the issue is green. These doctors list what they feel are legit complaints but in the end they use the phrase “same level of patient care”. That is easy to translate. A visit to an office is of course going to cost more. I also think in a few cases doctors who complain are a bit lazy, it means a higher level of caring and work.
Recently I was using a battery screwdriver. I ran the bit through the side of my hand, in one side out the other. I did not go to hospital or to the doctor. I was worried about getting a bacterial infection since the wound was open. I treated it at home and it is fine.
I fully support video visits and home visits. It will save money in health care, lower the stress level of patients, increase the care level given and decrease the spread of deadly bacteria.