By Russ Alan Prince, Forbes, Contributor — I write about the creation and management of exceptional wealth. Note; Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
JANUARY 30, 2015 – At one time, going back to the 1960s, house calls were fairly common. Since then, physicians – for a multitude of reasons – have abandoned the house call. Today, that is changing. Due to emerging technologies, a “new” version of the house call is becoming more and more prevalent. Telemedicine will likely make house calls increasingly characteristic of modern healthcare delivery.
Currently, telemedicine is being embraced by a number of concierge healthcare providers. Research with family offices and other cohorts of the wealthy, for example, find the ability to connect with their physicians anytime, anywhere to be an extremely or very important characteristic of their concierge medical provider.
Without question, many concierge medical practices are reinventing healthcare delivery by leveraging mobile health technologies. According to Daniel Carlin, M.D., president of WorldClinic and a pioneer in the field, “Telemedicine, paired with mobile technologies, allows the doctor to come to the patient quickly for diagnosis and treatment, if needed. So there’s no waiting in line and no getting lost in the shuffle. Concierge telemedicine practices know their patients and their families and have access to their entire health history and records are on hand to reference. Furthermore, a physician will follow up on all transpired events.” This kind of personalized care is what was offered to patients receiving house calls in the past and what defines the modern day telemedicine equivalent.
With the rise in popularity of telemedicine related healthcare options, important differentiators exist as well. Many “phone-a-physician” telemedicine service, while fast and useful, don’t put patients in touch with doctors who know anything about them or their health history. Additionally, many concierge services do not practice telemedicine, which means a client is required to make a trip to the office before they can receive care. Well-managed concierge telemedicine practices address these gaps and deliver a level of personal care that is both direct and informed.
FORBES: ‘Concierge medicine is a healthcare delivery approach that will be embraced by a percentage of patients. In some respects, it will be a testing ground for new technologies.’
Though the knock of the family physician on the front door is a thing of the past, the spirit of the house call lives on through concierge telemedicine. And, as these technologies are developed and refined in current concierge medical practices, they will likely become increasingly normative for everyone.