Could COVID-19 mean the return of doctor house calls?

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 16, 2020

As millions of Americans avoid routine doctor’s appointments right now for fear of catching COVID-19, a decades-old practice is suddenly gaining new attention: the house call.

“The notion of a house call means the care provider can get a more comprehensive view of you as a person,” explained Stacey Chang, who serves as the executive director for the Design Institute for Health.

Chang says a reinvention of the house call could be a viable solution to America’s evolving post-coronavirus healthcare system. New portable technology means doctors can do more than just check your temperature.

Health officials across the country are also worried that Americans in isolation are avoiding routine check-ups, which could lead to more long-term issues once the pandemic ends.

“The care that didn’t happen, the routine care for managing chronic diseases, we may end up having greater mortality from those missed interventions than what COVID itself caused,” Chang added.

Aside from keeping people away from hospitals where COVID-19 might be lurking, the house call gives physicians a chance to get to know their patients. Spending more than 10 minutes with someone in an office would give doctors a better chance to treat chronic diseases.

“It’s really a relationship between the person that’s caring for you and the person you’re caring for,” Chang said.