In the early 1960s, 40% of a doctor’s meetings with patients were in-person house calls. It was a level of personal care that patients enjoyed––but physicians knew the inefficiency of long visits and travel time kept them from seeing more people in need.It became too expensive for doctors to spend one hour with a single patient when they could be seeing 8 patients per hour––if only those patients all came to the same location. This single office would allow doctors to staff nurses, technicians and other medical professionals to increase their efficiency. Physicians who usually couldn’t offer lab tests or complex diagnoses could now do so on the spot.
With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that doctors making house calls became a nearly extinct practice in just two decades.
Today we have a “perfect storm” that gives house calls a chance at a comeback: The cost of technology is low because instant connection is at our fingertips. But healthcare costs are skyrocketing, meaning there’s an incredibly high demand for an affordable alternative to in-person physician appointments. Speaking to a doctor over the phone is the revival of the house call.
Let’s call it “House Calls 2.0.”
House Calls 2.0
Even in the old house call model, you could still wait hours to see a doctor. Sure, the doctor came to your home so you didn’t have to wait in a waiting room full of sick patients, but it was still far from ideal. With telemedicine, you can:
- Speak to a doctor...often within a few minutes.
- Whether it is for you or a sick family member, you don’t need to leave your home to get basic medical attention by a licensed doctor.
- Even if you are traveling, you will have access to a doctor anywhere in the U.S.
- Just like with a house call, you can get a prescription on the spot.
- Unlike a house call, a telemedicine session with a doctor is 100% free to the patient.
The sense of personal attention that patients received in 1960s house calls is finding its way back in the 21st century. The convenience of a “call” with a telemedicine physician is an affordable alternative to time-consuming doctor’s office visits and even better than the house calls of the ‘60s.
Telemedicine really is the healthcare of the future.