News | October 23, 2007

Medical House Calls May Reduce ER Visits

October 24, 2007 - Seven in 10 primary care physicians believe that the medical house call, a vestige of medicine practiced in a bygone era and now beginning to make a comeback, will improve patient care and result in fewer emergency room visits and faster patient recuperation time and comfort, according to a recent survey of 7,000 primary care physicians in the New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas regarding their opinions and attitudes about medical house calls.

According to the survey, 1 percent of primary physicians in specialties such as family practice, general practice, internal medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, palliative medicine and geriatric psychiatry presently conduct home visits with any regularity, that is, by seeing 25 or more patients in their homes weekly. While 79 percent say they currently are not conducting home medical visits during a typical week, 41 percent say they do make house calls from time to time.

The survey found that 25 percent of the physicians planned on purchasing communication technologies – PDAs, cell phones, pocket PCs – in the next one to two years. Other findings included the following:
- 69 percent agree (compared to eight percent who disagree) that house calls will result in fewer emergency room visits
- 89 percent to four percent agree that it will increase patient comfort
- 80 percent to eight percent agree that it will lead to more direct patient care

The survey was conducted by HouseMD Today in cooperation with the American Academy of Home Care Physicians and in part through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.

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