For decades, the idea of a house call from a doctor has conjured quaint images of the past, before rapid advancement and access to technology transformed the nation into a highly mobile and independent population. From that point on, if Americans needed medical services, they had options ranging from driving themselves to a location, to being rushed there by emergency transport, if needed.
This started, however, before people began living much longer, chronic conditions exploded, and the cost of medical services soared. By 2021, the effects of a pandemic have accelerated what was already developing into a trend with patients and payors alike – the preference to receive care at home.
To that end, primary care physicians have become a focal point in bringing back the house call. Well-funded startups and offshoots of traditional primary care offices are sprouting up and are designed to bring such services to home-bound patients.1
Case in point: Jacksonville-based My Choice Housecalls has been bringing primary care to area residents’ homes since 2015. Florida-based Concierge Home Care, meanwhile, provides a variety of in-home services to seniors. Like so many home healthcare models since the pandemic, Concierge has seen its client base grow and consequently its dependence on third-party provider relationships to ensure greater quality and continuity of care. Therefore, Concierge took its existing partnership with My Choice Housecalls to the next level, by purchasing the company.
This innovative business model was the subject of a recent Forcura webinar sponsored by HIMSS, entitled Home Healthcare: Claiming Its Rightful Place in the Patient Care Value Chain. By acquiring My Choice Housecalls and forging another close partnership with ACO and Direct Contracting Entity Pathways Health Partners, Concierge Home Care can work seamlessly to provide the appropriate care for its patients whenever needed, bypassing the time and difficulty explaining health histories to third parties or arranging a provider’s signature on orders when the patient doesn’t already have primary care established.
“I think of instances where … they're 92 years old and haven't seen a physician in many years because it's just so difficult for them to get out,” said Linda Murphy, Co-founder and COO of Concierge Home Care. “So it ends up where they're in an acute phase, they're in the hospital, they go to discharge and they don't have a primary care physician. My Choice has been a wonderful partner for many, many years in solving and being a solution for those types of patients in that region.”
With CMS embracing the value-based care model and more insurance payors offering enhanced plans like Medicare Advantage, it’s very likely that more companies will offer house call services in the near-future. Whether Home Health and other post-acute care agencies formally incorporate this into their business structures or simply establish trusted partnerships, it is clear that access to an on-call, readily deployable physician or nurse practitioner to prevent a hospital readmission and maintain care in the patient’s home is just a good idea. It keeps the high costs of hospitalization down, is less stressful to the patient and, most importantly, is what an increasing number of Americans want.
If technology is what led to hospitals, physician offices and specialty centers being our primary locations for care, then it will be this same influence that steers our system full circle, back into the home where it all started. The pandemic has shown that technology can be harnessed in a variety of ways to provide critical care coordination steps outside of traditional structures – procedures such as lab draws, x-rays, therapy and monitoring can all be done in the home as part of a professional care plan, vetted by a primary care practitioner and completed in a timely manner. This is what most baby boomers, who will comprise the largest elderly population for the next 15 years, have expressed as their preference, and what CMS and payors are seeing the value of as well.
It may be time for your home health or other post-acute care business to embrace this development, to optimize your efficiency, gain the best patient outcomes, and realize your full potential as a provider of choice.
Want to learn more? This and other topics are discussed in a fascinating webinar highlighting a cutting-edge model of home health healthcare. Watch the webinar on-demand today!
- “The Future Of Healthcare Is Coming Home: Three Major Trends To Leverage For Startups.” Forbes.com, April 5, 2021.