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Virtual House Call vs. Traditional Office Visit

Explain what a "virtual house call" is. How does this method compare with the traditional doctor's office visit in terms of patient-doctor relationship? How does it compare financially? What kind of interaction and information access does it provide to patients? If you were a caregiver, would it be beneficial to you? Explain your answer

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Interesting set of questions! Let's take a closer look through discussion and example. I also one supporting article, some of which this response is drawn.

1. Explain what a "virtual house call" is.

As a case in point, an orthopedic surgeon in Ontario is doing this. All his after care checks are done using video conferencing, so he has more time to actually perform operations.

The virtual house call is the latest trend in telemedicine. It means that instead of going to the doctor, the doctor comes to you ( To make it a virtual house call, the doctor would need to work with the patient and their own web-cam and rely on a trust relationship with a patient, or in some cases, the caregiver (like a parent or husband or wife for an adult) to report symptoms, temperatures and report on the health status, etc. The virtual house call does not require much in the way of expense that the doctor does not already pay for because most doctors have broadband access and computers. With webcams, there might be 'remote' offices for after-hour calls, which may need to be staffed, would be more expensive but the costs could be shared.

However, 'virtual house calls' are also received at the same office as the in-office visits, like in the example below, which takes both e-mail messages and provides e-visits as well.


At Dartmouth-Hitchcock, an e-visit is an electronic communication exchange that takes the place of an office visit. "There is a very specific CPT code and definition of what an electronic visit must contain to be classified as a billable visit," says Walters. "It has to have ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the concept of a "virtual house call" and then compares it with the traditional doctor's office visit in terms of patient-doctor relationship and financial factors. It also explains the kinds of interaction and information access it provides the patients, and the potential benefits to a caregiver. Supplemented with a highly informative article explaining virtual house calls.