Are doctor house calls back in style?

We have all seen the classic movies where someone recites “call the doctor, call the doctor.” Lo and behold, a “doctor” appears, usually wearing a white coat and carrying a briefcase filled with everyday “doctor tools.” Nowadays, “call the doctor” usually means making an appointment, waiting three weeks to get something booked, and showing up at your designated time to your doctor’s office. Where did these days of doctor house calls go and how do we get them back?!

According to an article by U.S. News, doctor house calls might actually be coming back in style! As a doctor, making a house call gives you a chance to offer a more personalized experience and get a glimpse into the lives of your patients. This also gives doctors a chance to truly focus on the patient instead of the nitty gritty of a medical practice. Some doctors might also want a change of pace and to “get out of the office.” From a patient’s viewpoint, doctor house calls offer the ability to forego the waiting period to get an appointment, the waiting room filled with germs, and just having to get their body out of bed when they’re feeling ill!

The article highlights the story of an aging mother who is ill and has trouble getting down the stairs to go to her doctor’s appointments. Every time she has a doctor’s appointment, her husband and son struggle to bring her down the stairs, a weekly hassle that once left her with a broken neck. This family turned to doctor house calls, where a traveling doctor visits her at home, much like those classic movies (minus the fact that they bring real doctor tools not a briefcase full of props)!

Even though doctor house calls are gaining momentum, a 2013 AAFP survey determined that only 13% of physicians in the academy made at least one house call a week. With the aging population expected to rise in the next two decades, house calls could be the underlying difference if an elderly person can stay at home or be forced to move into a retirement home. A two-year study by The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that patients benefiting from doctor house calls had 17% lower health care costs, 9% fewer hospitalizations, 20% fewer emergency department visits, 23% fewer visits to subspecialists, and 27% fewer stays in skilled nursing facilities.

The demand for doctor house calls is growing, but the physicians providing this service are actually shrinking! Docs, what are you waiting for?!

We get it, sometimes leaving your medical practice in the middle of the day is not practical. What if we told you that you could take doctor house calls without leaving the office? No, it’s not magic…it’s Sniffle! The Sniffle app gives you the extra flexibility to meet with patients anytime, anywhere. Doctors can set their own prices (did we mention it’s free?) and connect with patients by downloading the app on their smartphones. Sniffle is a great tool to see more patients via their mobile app, particularly those patients with minor common ailments that just clog the waiting rooms. So, docs, what do you say? Your patients are waiting for you at Sniffle. It’s free for providers to use. No catch.