A half century ago, it wasn't uncommon for doctors to make house calls. But by the 80s, this practice had fallen by the wayside along with other once-popular trends like go-go boots and granny glasses.
In fact, according to this article in The New York Times, "In 1930, house calls accounted for 40 percent of physician interactions. By 1980, that number had dropped to 1 percent."
Fast forward to present day, a time when house call doctors are making a comeback, in large part due to the increased interest in concierge medicine (although that's not the only reason, as you'll soon see).
Will this trend have staying power this time around? While no one can say for sure at this point, we tend to think yes. Here's why.
Receiving same-day deliveries. Making purchases with the swipe of a finger on a smartphone. Watching whole seasons of television shows at once instead of having to wait. See a trend here?
Today's world is all about your convenience.
It's no wonder this concept would extend into other areas of our lives, such as healthcare. The hallmark of concierge medicine is that it's more convenient for you—the patient—since you have increased access to your doctor and same-day appointments. Having your doctor make house calls is just one more way to ratchet up this convenience.
Have you ever visited a website that greets you by your first name? Or have you ever been browsing Facebook, surprised by how eerily accurate some of the ads are? That's personalization at work. We're living in an era where everything can be refined to meet our own unique interests and experiences.
Concierge medicine is personalized medicine at its best. You have the same doctor visit after visit, week after week, month after month, year after year. This allows you and your doctor to develop a personal relationship based on trust. One of the reasons why house calls are on the increase is because the trust between doctor and patient is on the increase, thanks to the concierge medicine model.
We live in a truly "global" world. Within hours, we can be on the other side of the country. Add on a few more hours, and we can be on another continent. This is great for everyone and everything, especially infectious and contagious diseases.
Thinking back to last summer, the whole world was on high alert regarding the Ebola outbreak. As we all know, it didn't take long for it to enter the US. Health officials constantly reminded us that it wasn't a matter of "if," but rather "when."
When it comes to germs—be it something incredibly serious, such as Ebola, or something less problematic, like the common cold—containment is important. How many times have we heard health professionals urging people to stay home from work or school when they're sick?
Doctors who make house calls can go long way in helping to contain germs. Instead of having the patient leave home and travel to the doctor's office or ER, and, thus, potentially infect those he comes in contact with, the doctor can pay the patient a visit in the comfort of his home. It's a win for the doctor, the patient, and the community at large, and it's no wonder that more and more people see it this way and seek out house call doctors as a result.
4. The Affordable Care Act.
Again, according to The New York Times, "The Affordable Care Act began financing a project in 2012 to determine in what setting house calls can be most effective. Doctors who make house calls share in savings if they provide quality care and reduce costs.
"There are small studies that indicate these primary care visits can decrease hospitalization rates by more than 60 percent and save around 25 percent in total costs — all with extremely high patient satisfaction."
No doubt, as more and more people hear about and experience the benefits that house calls doctors provide, more and more people are going to demand the service. It will be interesting to see where things stand a half century from now. Our money is on the house call docs.
Is the concierge model of care right for you and your family? Download our free guide to find out.