House Calls Make Comeback

Doctors at your doorstep. No waiting for appointments or sitting in a waiting room.

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    What if your doctor came to see you, within an hour of your call? And he or she could treat everything from your fever and flu symptoms to your cuts that needed stitches. That's the promise of BestMDHousecalls.com, a new Bay Area service based in Palo Alto.

    Dr. Sonya Kim is an ER doc now putting her business degree to work. She founded the mobile urgent care service to provide health care to people in their homes and offices, to help them avoid the often long waits, and short face time of traditional emergency rooms or urgent care facilities.

    Dr. Kim says patient calls go directly to her cell phone. After she does a consultation and assessment over the phone to determine that it's not a life-threatening situation that should go directly to 911, she arranges the visit  immediately.

    The Resurgence of the House Call

    [BAY] The Resurgence of the House Call
    A new Bay Area service is bringing housecalls back into mainstream medicine.

    "I drive to their home and take care of them there. I get the medical history, I do the physical exam. I diagnose them. Often I provide treatment right there on the spot."

    That includes filling basic prescriptions, conducting blood work and reading the results with a portable lab machine, and even setting broken bones.

    The McDermott family saw Dr. Kim in their San Francisco home, where she checked out 2 year old Charlie's rash, and looked at dad Steve's wrist injury from a kung fu incident. 

    "I tried a jump spin kick I'm about 20 years too old to do in real life. I fell down hard with full body weight on my hand with a loud pop," says Steve.

    The McDermotts say having a mobile MD fits their busy schedules. Mom Sun Young is a full time Realtor, and dad works 60+ hour work weeks in San Francisco's financial district.

    "I work 8AM to 8PM. Finding time to get to the doctor is tough. Dr. Kim takes her time listens to you...and you can be in your bathrobe," says Steve.

    Sun Young says it's much easier getting a house call than having to pack up her toddler and battle traffic and find parking to see her Laurel Heights pediatrician. "It's really a hassle to take him to the doctor," she says.

    Having a team of house call doctors suits Microsoft just fine. The company believes it has reduced their costs from ER visits, and keeps employees healthier and happier.

    Fees start at $295. Dr. Kim says it works well for the uninsured as a fee for service set up. She also works with patients who have insurance, to help them get reimbursed from their insurer, if they are eligible.

    "I would be considered an out of network doctor," says Dr. Kim.