In the 1930’s, it was common practice for physicians to visit patients in their homes if the patients were too sick or injured to seek care in the doctor’s office or hospital. Nearly 40% of doctor-patient visits took place in the home. These “house calls” reduced stress on the patient and caregiver and gave the added benefit of giving the physician a unique perspective of the patient’s surroundings and issues that may be contributing to his/her condition. But, by the 1950’s, house calls diminished as advances in technology equipped medical offices and hospitals to perform more diagnostic tests, as well as monitor and treat greater numbers of patients.
Today, thanks to the latest advances in modern technology, there are many pieces of medical diagnostic, treatment and monitoring equipment which have been made portable and can be brought into the patient’s home. These medical devices include; X-Ray, EKG, Ultrasound, Bladderscan, Point-of-Care Blood Analysis, Wireless data-sharing blood pressure monitoring, Glucose monitoring, and more.
Thanks in part to this new, portable technology, house call physicians and nurse practitioners can better diagnose, treat and monitor frail, chronically ill, medically complex, homebound patients in their home – reducing stress on the patient and caregiver, eliminating expensive medical transportation costs, reducing the chance of hospital-acquired infections, and often reducing the total cost to the system by reducing unnecessary ER visits and lengthy hospital stays.
In this video, you’ll see an x-ray technician demonstrate rolling a portable x-ray machine into a patient’s apartment and capture a chest and wrist x-ray.
If you’re interested in learning more about the growing field of house call medicine and home-based primary care, call or visit the Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) at 630-283-9210 or http://hccinstitute.org.