If the COVID-19 pandemic has a silver lining, it’s this: It will forever change how we access healthcare.
House calls, virtual and in-person, are back. With one click or call, your primary care doctor shows up on your screen—or even at your door. What’s not to love?
Truth is, house calls never really went away. They just looked different from the version you saw on Little House on the Prairie.
Here are five things you probably don’t know about receiving primary medical care at home.
When you picture traditional at-home healthcare, you might imagine a phlebotomist coming into your home to draw blood. Or maybe an occupational or physical therapist stopping by to work with you for a few months after a hospital stay.
But at-home primary care is entirely different: It’s comprehensive and continuous medical care in the convenience of your home, just like you’d receive in your doctor’s office. Emcara Health assembles a care team [link to other story] that includes a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, community healthcare worker, and medical health professional. This team works together to create a custom care plan just for you.
“It’s like bringing all the resources of a traditional clinic—and more—into your home,” says Chris Dodd, M.D., chief medical officer at Emcara Health. “We tailor our care delivery based on your unique medical needs.”
With Emcara Health, you don’t just get a visiting nurse—you get a complete medical team that works together to keep you healthy. No matter your health condition, your care team will be by your side every step of the way.
That means making sure you understand how to use your new insulin pump if you’re managing diabetes, ensuring you know how and when to take your medications if you’re battling heart problems, and regularly assessing your home for fall risks if you’re struggling with balance or fatigue issues.
Your care team also regularly checks in with you—and your caregiver, if you have one—to confirm all is well and make any necessary adjustments.
Perhaps most important, you and your caregiver can reach your nurse practitioner anytime—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—no matter what the question or issue.
When you have home-based primary care, yes, your medical needs are being met. But the care goes beyond regular exams and prescriptions for meds.
Say you’re a patient with significant social barriers—lack of healthy food or affordable transportation, for example.
“Emcara Health provides a community health worker to get to know you on a personal level, understand those barriers, and address them by connecting you with community-based resources or organizations,” Dr. Dodd says.
By developing a relationship with patients and earning their trust, Emcara Health is able to provide care to people who haven’t been receptive to it before.
These are benefits you can’t get in a traditional clinic setting, Dr. Dodd says, but will ultimately keep you safe, happy, and healthy.
Patients in rural areas may not have access to quality healthcare compared to those who live in urban environments, Dr. Dodd says. Because of this, they tend to have worse outcomes.
“Home-based care is one of the key solutions,” he says. Bringing primary care to patients who need it the most—regardless of demographics, social barriers, economic status, and geographical locations—closes this gap in care and improves their health and quality of life.
At-home medical care may seem like an expensive service, but it’s actually a fantastic investment in your future. That’s why health insurance plans cover most, if not all, of the cost.
Providing comprehensive medical care at home catches small health issues before they become big problems, keeping people healthier and out of the hospital. This is especially true of older, more vulnerable, at-risk populations.
This, in turn, reduces healthcare costs for both patients and health plans. According to Dr. Dodd, 10 percent of the population drives 50 percent of the healthcare costs in the United States—and our current healthcare model isn’t properly addressing the needs of the 10 percent.
“Until you radically change how we deliver care to that vulnerable population,” he says, “you stand no chance of bending the cost.”