Almost all of us have family doctors and regular GPs that we report to once in a while, or whenever we have a question or medical concern that we need expert advice from. But now that home doctors are making their comeback in the medical industry, we begin to wonder, can a doctor in the house replace the services of our GPs?
Doctor in the house: An on-call doctor
Home doctors are roaming general doctors who are there to check up on you whenever you need them, but their services are limited to just your consultation alone. Having a regular family doctor means he or she can become acquainted and familiar with you. Developing a healthy professional bond with a doctor will make you feel more at ease and allow more open communication. This patient-doctor relationship builds mutual knowledge, understanding, and confidence.
Having a regular family doctor means that you are confident that all information about your previous check-ups and consultations are compiled and stored properly so you will not have to memorise and repeat information about the medications you took before, or your previous medical history. You can be sure that your family doctor or GP will always have these important details in your medical notes.
Doctor in the house: For sick patients only
Home doctor services are there to treat ill patients in the comfort of their homes. But, as we all know it, health maintenance is not just about treatment or cure of an illness. It is also about undergoing preventative measures to make sure that you are in the pink of health. Family doctors are involved in many preventative activities, like:
- Advice on all types of immunisations to prevent diseases
- Advice on illness detection with regard to diabetes, cancer, thyroid issues, etc.
- Advice on risk reduction or management of cardiovascular or pulmonary disease
- Executive general check-up, monitoring, or wellness management
Compared to a doctor in the house, your family doctor is still the better and more accountable doctor to advise you on what preventative activities are available for you and your family.
Doctor in the house: For acute illnesses that need urgent care
We call home doctors if we have an acute episode of stomach pain, cough and colds, earache, or any symptom or health complaint the manifested abruptly. We can also call them if a previous chronic illness suddenly presented symptoms in the middle of the night. But if we are talking about monitoring and observation of chronic diseases, family doctors or your regular GPs are still the best persons to turn to. Management of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, are still the responsibility of your family doctors. Family doctors also have treatment and care plans for every individual illness that you may have. Having a care plan designed by your family doctor is found to be an effective way of involving you on your ongoing treatment and management of your disease. A home doctor cannot provide that intricate treatment plan, but he can contribute some information with regard to your condition since he also submits a medical report to your GP about your home consultation.
Doctor in the house: For continuity of care
As mentioned earlier, home doctors furnish a medical report at the end of your home treatment session to summarise the whole scenario, from your presenting complaints, his diagnosis, and the steps he took to help alleviate your discomfort. This report is sent to your GP, so he is kept in the loop concerning your present condition. This will help him to manage your situation better and to determine if additional tests or scans are needed to assess your health fully. This assessment could lead to a referral to a medical specialist, or an allied health professional (acupuncturist, chiropractor, podiatrist, etc.)
In the case of after-hours consultations, a doctor in the house still encourages patients to report to their GPs and provide the details about their family doctor like their email address if possible so that he can communicate with directly to their patient’s regular doctor.