CHICAGO — For millions of Americans, the luxury of being able to stay at home during the pandemic has meant security and peace of mind. Telehealth restrictions were removed, making it easier to get medical advice. Home care is now also growing.
Home visits by doctors were common in the 1930s and accounted for 40% of all interactions between physicians, patients, and their patients.
But by 1980, it had fallen to just 1% — replaced by hospital, office, and emergency care systems.
Dr. Meeta Shah is an emergency physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She says, “I think patients really desire to get care and improve health care outside of hospital settings.”
One way to improve that care is home care. This has been a rising trend in recent years.
“It’s a way for patients to feel really safe and they can heal in an environment that’s their own. They can heal in their own bed,” said Jaclyn Henkhouse, vice president of clinical implementation at home care provider Dispatch Health.
There is no doctor at the door this time with a black medical bag. Instead, high-tech mobile healthcare units have replaced the bag. These SUVs can be equipped with a variety of medical treatment tools.
Patrick Huynh is an emergency room nurse.
Hyunh was to be sent with a medical technician. They were able to even treat complex injuries and illnesses together at home.
“We do not treat life-threatening emergencies. They should go to the emergency room. Hyunh explained that they treat everything, from an ear infection to a swelling to a cough.
Many health systems are reliant on home care models to reduce costs and keep non-life-threatening emergency situations out of the emergency department.
Shah stated that some people don’t know what to do if they are sick.
Colorado based Send healthIt is poised for the top spot in home health care. It currently has mobile medical units in 40 countries in 18 states. Plans to expand to 100 other markets are announced earlier in the year.
“We also have the ability to conduct point-of-care lab testing,” said Hyunh, who now operates through a partnership between Dispatch Health and Rush out of Chicago.
Telecare was a popular option due to the fact that many seniors are being forced to live at home by the pandemic.