This App Brings Doctors to Patients’ Homes

When people don’t feel well, a variety of factors could stop them from seeking prompt treatment. One relates to the challenges that could make it difficult to visit the doctor. Individuals may be fully reliant on public transportation, have young kids at home or simply not be physically able to leave the house due to the severity of illnesses.

These realities helped motivate the development of an app from Circle Medical designed for the iOS and Android systems that sets up house calls or lets people see physicians in other convenient ways. Although the app doesn’t cover gynecology or pediatric needs, it offers a full assortment of other treatments people can seek.

Getting Treatment Without Cost-Related Hassles

Using the Circle Medical app at the completion of a visit works similarly to showing an insurance card before leaving a doctor’s office. The application interface provides real-time insurance validation through a card-scanning feature. By looking at their device screens, people can determine if they’re visiting in-network providers, as well as see their deductible statuses.

An insured person receives an annual wellness visit for free. All other medical needs have $20 copays. If an individual does not have insurance, each appointment costs $200. Scheduling a house call requires paying a travel fee of the amount specified during the booking process, too. This cost-related transparency could stimulate user adoption and help people incorporate medical treatment costs into their budgets.

Keeping a Routine of Scheduled Exams and Follow-Up Appointments

The Circle Medical app also makes it easy for people to get into the habit of seeing their doctors regularly. Users can choose their preferred doctors and continue seeing those providers on future visits.

Care coordinators partner with physicians and answer the questions about setting up appointments or whether symptoms warrant a doctor visit. In the latter case, care coordinators escalate the queries to physicians.

After seeing their health professionals, people get appointment summaries within one day. They include details like vital signs collected during the visit, symptoms to watch for during the recovery process and how to take prescribed medications.

Also, if individuals don’t want health professionals to visit them at their homes or workplaces, they can set up appointments at a nearby facility or opt for telemedicine assistance. Beyond what Circle Medical offers, this kind of access to health professionals is ideal for other specific sectors of medicine.

For example, an increase in the number of people working toward physiatry careers makes sense due to the growing aging population in the United States. As people get older, they’re more likely to need operations such as hip replacements and have to learn new ways to stay as mobile compared to younger individuals. Physiatrists could come to the homes of people with recent injuries and help them regain physical abilities, coach them on using mobility aids and more.

This kind of app-facilitated treatment also fills a potential need for people who’ve been fitted with professional orthotics to aid in better movement. During an in-person visit or while watching on a webcam, a podiatrist could study an individual’s gait and give feedback on characteristics like step length and footfalls to help the wearer get used to braces, inserts or similar devices.

Will Circle Medical Expand Nationwide?

All doctors associated with Circle Medical are board-certified, and they exclusively practice with the service. Plus, the service operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Those characteristics probably sound appealing to most people around the United States. For now, though, this offering is limited to San Francisco and three other Californian cities in the vicinity.

Heal is another app that offers house calls. It, too, began in the Golden State but expanded to Washington, D.C. a few years later. Circle Medical could feasibly follow suit, especially if it takes time to study market trends and moves into areas of identified high demand.

The convenience associated with these doctor-on-call services is obvious. People don’t have to sit in traffic while en route to their physicians’ offices or get exposed to new germs while in waiting rooms. However, critics point out how it’s not productive for doctors to spend large portions of their days driving between homes.

To reduce the transportation required, workplaces that require physical exams for new hires might schedule all those on one day to occur in a single place. Parents who need camp or sports physicals for their kids could make similar arrangements.

Apps are firmly integrated into today’s culture. Only time will tell whether house calls will make a comeback with the help of technology installed on smartphones.

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about technology and gadgets for Motherboard, MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog Productivity Bytes.