“Is a ‘doctor in the house’ better than your regular GP?” This inquiry may be one of the many questions asked by a lot of patients who have had the chance to avail themselves of the services of a home doctor. Since they are now allowed to get checked at home, why not leave the services of their regular GP and just seek the services of a “doctor in the house’? Let’s find out their similarities and differences.
Doctor in the house and regular GP similarities
Both home visiting doctors and general practitioners are medical doctors. They are board certified and recognised by the Australian Medical Board. Home doctors are the same doctors you may see around the hospital corridors caring for the sick and elderly, and they are available to assist you during after hours while your GP is unavailable.
They are not specialists. As general practitioners, your family doctor and home doctors are knowledgeable of all medical conditions and do not focus their attention on a specific body part alone. Since most urgent but not life-threatening medical problems are systemic in nature or are involving several parts of the body at the same time (fever, pain, rashes, allergies, etc.) it is safe to say that a general practitioner can perfectly attend to your needs.
They complement each other’s work duties and responsibilities. The doctor in the house creates a medical report of your home visit and sends it to your GP. This procedure allows your GP to know exactly what happened should there be a need for further examination and assessment. Keeping your GP in the loop enables him to provide necessary medical maintenance to you and be responsible for your continuity of care.
Doctor in the house and regular GP differences
Their availability. Your regular GP is available during his office hours. The home visiting doctor service operates after hours, usually starting from 6:00 pm on weekdays, 12:00 pm on Saturdays, and available 24 hours during Sundays and public holidays. This set-up ensures continuity of care for all patients and guarantees that delivery of medical health care is up-to-date.
Their relationship with their patients. While the so-called ‘doctor in the house’ can treat or assess you anytime your GP is unavailable, their relationship with you is considered shallow compared to your familiarity with your regular GP. Your GP knows your medical history and has been your doctor for a longer amount of time, making them more reliable to continue your care. Furthermore, home doctors treat you on a case-to-case basis, so a different doctor may come to your aid the next time you call, whereas your GP is a stable medical partner who can carry on with your health care.
Their take on preventative health. Getting a consultation from a doctor on the house warrants the presence of a disease, symptom, or injury. But you cannot call them just to ask questions about preventative health. This part is the responsibility of your regular GP. Immunisation plan, cancer checks, reproductive health checks, and other early detection and prevention protocols should all come from your regular GP and are not part of the responsibilities of a home doctor.
The complementary relationship of a doctor in the house and a regular GP is necessary for the coordination and continuity of care for every patient. They should not be confused as a replacement for the other but should be considered a partnership made to ensure the maintenance of your overall health.