Not too long ago in the history of our country, there existed physicians who would travel around seeing patients. These physicians would do such things as make “house calls” or “home visits”. They were there in the home when the patients needed them. They were seen traveling around the community delivering care.These providers went to their patients – they did not wait on the patients to come to them.
When was the last time you heard of a medical home visit? Have you ever been seen in your home? What has changed in healthcare that we must go to a building in order to receive services? Why are services not coming to us? When did healthcare become removed from the community?
While there exist new and exciting technologies that allows providers to see patients in their home without actually traveling to the patients home, it sill seems that fundamentally we have shifted healthcare away from our community and into our medical complexes.
Why don’t we take healthcare to those who need it most?
As we have written about before on this site, Dr. Jeff Brenner and his Camden Coalition work have done just that. They have found those patients who often need the most services and tried to take healthcare to them.
In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we are looking for efficient, effective and easy to access healthcare. Most of the time, we are going to look for what’s closest to us. Ideally, these services would be in our community, and in some cases, these services are close to where we work. In an increasing number of cases, healthcare services are being offered at work. From Kaiser Health News:
“Until the 1980s, workplace health clinics generally existed to treat people who were injured on the job. Although that is still a key function, many employers are expanding the clinics’ role to include primary health-care services. In 2010, 15 percent of employers with 500 or more employees had clinics providing primary-care services, according to the consulting firm Mercer. Another 10 percent said they were considering providing those services this year or next.”
And really, this is not a surprise. We are spending more and more time at work. Employers benefit when they have a healthy workforce that can be productive (both present and effective). While bringing primary care and other healthcare services to our work sites is important, is this really bringing healthcare back to the community?
There is much more to say about this topic, but I wanted to open it up to you and hear what you all think.
How can we better bring healthcare back to our communities?
What are the benefits of this approach? Is it even something that we want?
Are we satisfied always needing to take our healthcare concerns to someone? Is this the best way?
Is returning to our roots (house calls and the like) important to even consider in the current healthcare climate?
Let us know what you think. I will compile comments into a future post on this topic.