Do Doctors Who Make House Calls Exist?

Imagine the convenience of mobile medical vans with doctors who make house calls. It’s not a dream! This actually exists right here in metro Detroit.

The only thing worse than having a sick child is the experience of sitting with your sick child in a doctor’s waiting room — and the hours of missed work (or sleep!) needed to provide that essential care to your child. In the era of on-demand food and beverage delivery, even custom lattes can appear at your front door hot and ready to drink, while innovative health care delivery lags behind. What busy parents really need is doctors who make house calls.

Is that even a thing?

Here’s the good news: Doctors who make house calls actually are available in metro Detroit and we parents couldn’t be happier. “When COVID hit and we all leaned into convenience of home delivery for everything we need, we asked why aren’t we doing this for health care? Our CEO (at Ascend Medical) said, ‘What if we brought health care to people so they don’t have to wait?’ And that was the spark,” explains Lindara Halloran, M.D., a pediatrician with Ascend Medical.

The concept is simple yet so innovative. Ascend Medical pairs telehealth with a mobile medical model to meet the needs of busy parents who want the best care for their child — and the result is quality care with a very high convenience factor. Literally doctors who make house calls.

“The pandemic helped parents question the way they utilize health care, especially in relation to their children. We have made a lot of advancements in the past two years, thanks to the pandemic,” Dr. Halloran says.

Read on to learn more about Advance Medical’s innovative health care offerings for your child (and for you).

Advancements in telehealth

For its sheer convenience, telehealth is one of the most welcome health care innovations. And, says Dr. Halloran, telehealth far outweighs the standard phone conversation with an on-call pediatrician.

“A phone call is an OK way of answering questions after hours. But when you can see and visualize a child, you really add an aspect of quality to that visit,” she explains. With Ascend Medical, virtual telehealth is available 24/7. Virtual telehealth is a combination of a one-to-one conversation and a video call — and that video element offers the pediatrician the opportunity to assess your child’s condition from a variety of expert perspectives.

“When you call me to describe a rash, as a physician, I jump to the worst-case scenario,” says Dr. Halloran. But when she can see the rash — as well as how it’s affecting your child overall — she can provide a more accurate diagnosis and precise medical advice to resolve the problem quickly.

Telehealth allows parents and physicians to include the child in the visit and that results in better, more accurate medical advice. “Children are so amazing and they don’t want to be sick. They want to play and be active. So when you describe a rash or another symptom to me and I can see your child climbing all over you and being active, I can get a better sense of the impact on your child,” Dr. Halloran says. And that offers peace of mind to everyone involved.

“If it’s a Saturday and you think your child has pink eye, we can hop on a telehealth call, and during that call we have the option to convert the visit to mobile in-person care,” she says, and that’s where Ascend Medical is really different.

Doctors who make house calls — really!

When your child needs in-person medical attention, Ascend Medical has a mobile medicine van that can come to your home or work throughout locations in metro Detroit.

“A lot of people are attracted to our mobile medical model. A family with two working parents, even if they work from home, love this because they don’t have to take the day off to take their child to the pediatrician,” Dr. Halloran says. “The Ascend Medical team can come out at 10 and be gone by 10:30 or 11, and you can keep working. Ascend is about convenience.”

doctors-who-make-house-calls
Photo credit: Ascend Medical

In-home medical care that is convenient when your child has a fever or sore throat is equally convenient for well-child visits, routine immunizations, even newborn weight checks. And, says Dr. Halloran, there’s no better way to assess a child’s development than in a place where they feel most comfortable — their own home.

“Being in the home, we get to see your child in their environment, their comfort zone. We can assess how they are walking, talking and climbing. When you bring a child into a doctor’s office, they tend to shut down,” Dr. Halloran says. “In their home environment they are so much more themselves.”

And, when children receive their medical care right in their own home, they can bounce back more quickly from exams and immunizations. “The whole visit is better for everyone,” she says. “It’s comfortable and convenient and even better quality for us to come to your home.”

What parent hasn’t dreaded putting a queasy toddler into a car seat. “Honestly, when a child is vomiting or has diarrhea, the last thing they want to do is be put in a car,” Dr. Halloran says. “Or, if you have a well child, the last place you want to be is in a waiting room with sick children. For parents, these are among the biggest benefits of using Ascend Medical.”

Innovative membership model

The convenience of virtual telehealth and mobile medical isn’t limited to urgent medical needs and actually works very well for a child’s primary care. Ascend Medical’s health care model means your medical team knows what’s happening in metro Detroit, what viruses are circulating in the community and what local families need.

Ascend Medical does offer a membership, which increases the convenience factor because it covers the cost of access to 24/7 virtual telehealth and mobile van visits to your home or office — or even grandma’s house, if her home is within the coverage area. The medical care itself is subject to your own insurance coverage.

But how does it all work? Let’s say your child has a sore throat but is not super sick. You want to find out if they have a random virus, which doesn’t require an antibiotic, or if it’s strep, which is often treated with a prescription.

A call to Ascend Medical will get the mobile van out to you for a strep test. If it’s positive, you’ll have a prescription in your hands right away. The mobile van has everything needed for diagnostic tests, blood work, measurements, hearing and vision tests, immunizations and much more. Dr. Halloran suggests checking with your insurance provider to determine their coverage.

Beyond convenience is the quality care your child will receive, says Dr. Halloran. “For me, it’s about taking care of patients and parents want to know they are getting the best quality care for their child,” she says. “We follow all American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, so whatever screening you’d get in a traditional office, we follow the same guidelines. In addition, you complete all records electronically so we can review them prior to the visit and really target our conversations to your concerns.”

You can even schedule a meet and greet with Ascend Medical’s team, just to get to know them.

“Our delivery method is new, but what we are doing is not,” Dr. Halloran says. “Our practice of medicine is not new and we follow standards of care. The biggest thing we do is build a relationship with a parent and their child. Even from that first visit, having care in your home is just a more intimate experience. We believe that eventually we will see a lot more of this unique delivery method, and that it will be tied to better health outcomes.”

Learn more about Ascend Medical at ascendmedical.com.

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