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Should Your Docs Be Making House Calls?

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, February 14, 2014

"As I got older I felt like I needed to spend more time with my patients, and I was getting more worried I might make a mistake in that environment. I got the idea of doing house calls," he says. "The number one reason was I'd have my own business and schedule patients as I want to."

Startup costs were very low. Although he has an office location in an office park, he doesn't see patients there.

"It's just an address," he says.

Reduced Hospital Admissions
Through home visits, Kinney says, he gets much more information on how a patient lives day-to-day—critical information that's key to whether they are likely to need home health assistance, better chronic care, or other needs that don't fit into the medical spectrum, but that could affect whether or how quickly they will recover, as well as affect whether they might need to be hospitalized.

"I see how people live, and I'm shocked and amazed day-to-day," he says. "I get to know family members and understand better why a person has a problem, where in an office setting you don't get to see that."

He also says he believes that the aging of the population, among other factors, is driving a trend toward more interest in house calls. He says he's amazed at how well he's kept "really sick" patients out of the hospital compared to his previous work in an office-based practice setting. That alone would be key to any hospital strategy that might incorporate house calls into the management of care for the chronically ill.

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