Updated: Aug 13, 2018
With advancements in technology, it is now much easier to not only stay up-to-date on your health, but to also keep in closer communication with your doctors. Whether it is through video visits or email messaging, your doctor is at your fingertips.
Below is a list of 5 ways in which you can visit with your doctor without having to leave your home or maybe even your bed. Keep in mind, each method of communication has its own laws that are regulated at the state level so it is important to know which methods of communication are allowed based on the state in which you reside or are currently visiting.
1. HOUSE-CALLS (MAKE THE DOCTOR COME TO YOU!)
Before the 1940s, the majority of physician visits were house calls (1). Physicians would travel to a family's home and were able to treat an entire family during one visit. As technology advances were made and more physicians became specialized, the number of house calls made a significant decline, and by 1980 less than 1% of visits were house calls (1,2). Today, the pendulum is swinging back towards in-home visits and with good reason. It can save both time and money for the patient, and with the advent of telemedicine, patients can follow-up with their doctor through phone conversations or email messaging, possibly without needing additional home visits. Furthermore, patients can have the full attention of their doctor without interruptions and time restraints.
2. VIDEO VISITS
Don’t have time to make it to the clinic or feel uncomfortable having someone in your home? No problem! As long as you have a computer, or mobile device, and an internet connection, these visits can take place at home, at work, or anywhere in-between.
For visits to be legal, the doctor has to be licensed in the state where the patient is currently located, whether it is the state in which the patient is residing or just currently visiting. Not all states may allow (and not all insurance companies may cover) video visits to take the place of an in-person examination, and not all visits may be appropriate to conduct through video. Therefore, is up to the discretion of the physician and potential patient to decide what is best for the patient.
3. TELEPHONE VISITS
Whether the doctor has gives you his/her direct phone number or a more formal telephone visit is set-up through office staff members, phone calls seem to be becoming a more popular way of communication between physicians and patients. For patients, they may have forgotten to ask a specific question during their visit or they may just need a refill of a prescribed medication. For physicians, it is a more streamline way to follow-up with lab and imaging results, as well as to check in with patients to see how their current treatment plan is going.
Of note, in the state of California, initial visits, consultation appointments, and medical advice cannot be conducted through the telephone. The patient must be seen in-person or through video visits before other means of communication are performed.
4 & 5. EMAIL & TEXT MESSAGING
Why wait for your doctor to call you back or for your scheduled telephone appointment visit when you can reach your doctor through email and, in some cases, text messaging services, now? Email and texting may be the quickest (and cheapest) way to get all of your questions and concerns to the doctor. There is no need to schedule an appointment, sit in the waiting room, or feel rushed when you finally get to see the doctor. Email your questions 24/7 and the doctor can respond when he/she is available.
Emailing and texting should only be performed with established patients, and precaution should be taken with their security risks. If you have more urgent or emergent matters, these methods are not advised and you should, instead, seek help immediately at your nearest emergency room facility.
Dr. Falk, the At Your Feet doctor, makes herself available for house-calls, video visits, phone call follow-ups, along with 24/7 email & text messaging. Click here if you wish to contact her directly or click here if you wish to schedule an appointment.
DISCLAIMER: The above information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Should you have questions or concerns related to your health, contact the doctor or your own healthcare professional.
1. Herritt, B.J. (2012). The House Call: Past, Present and Future. UTMJ, 89(3),175-177.
2. House Call. (Last modified 2017, Aug 3). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_call