The Concise Guide to Home Doctors, and Why You Should Have One

home doctor with a patient

In the not so distant past, home doctors were the norm. Imagine a silver-haired man wearing a hat, some dapper clothes and carrying a medicine kit. Those were the doctors in small towns and villages, visiting his patients in their homes and providing expert medical advice and service.

Slowly, home doctors in Singapore have all but nearly disappeared as a profession. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, as well as the boom of medical specialists, doctors have started their own clinics with their collection of medical equipment that is too heavy to carry around from house to house.

However, in the 21st century, home doctors have emerged again and have become more and more popular as a profession. Smartphones have become the catalyst to the resurgence of home doctors, as people can now simply just book an appointment with a home doctor through the use of a smartphone app like Speedoc.

If you are one of the many people interested in getting a home doctor, then read on to help prepare you better.

Home doctors provide a more personalised service to patients.

Unlike doctors working in public or private hospitals in Singapore, home doctors usually only cater to a small number of patients each day. This gives home doctors much more time with each patient for consultation and check-up, which also develops a closer doctor-patient relationship. Compare this with public hospital doctors who cater to so many more patients per day, which only allows them a short amount of time with each patient. This much longer consultation time also helps the home doctor ‘personalise’ his/her service to the patient, as he/she can ask the patient more insightful questions.

Patients can skip the traffic and lines to get a doctor’s consultation.

Travelling to a clinic or a hospital can be a real chore, especially if it’s quite a few miles away from home. Add to that the stress of waiting, and a patient can get more and more agitated and stressed, which can affect the mood of both the patient and doctor during the consultation.

Home doctors allow patients to do not have to deal with these stressors. Instead of lining up for the bus, or packing his/herself into a tight train car, the patient can just relax and wait for the doctor to get to his/her house.

pregnant woman examined by GP at home

Most home doctors are GP.

Singapore specialist doctors rarely become home doctors due to the fact that a lot of medical equipment is simply too heavy or bulky to carry around from house to house. Imagine a dermatologist carrying around his/her liposuction machine to different houses each day. That’s how most home doctors are general practitioners instead of specialists in a certain medical field. They ‘specialise’ in giving patients basic medical check-ups and care, but if there’s a more specific problem, then the home doctor would refer the patient to a specialist.

Elderly people, pregnant women and persons with disabilities (PWD) can call home doctors instead of travelling to a clinic.

All these three groups of people have a hard time travelling to hospitals and clinics on their own as travelling becomes a highly risky ordeal. Home doctors will allow patients to call for a home visit instead, which is a great relief for this set of patients.

Nothing beats the convenience and comfort of staying at home compared to travelling to a hospital or clinic.

Calling a home doctor for a visit is probably one of the highlights of medical technology this decade. There’s just lesser stress to deal with in a home visit. Home doctors bring their own equipment and medical kits as well, so patients only have to worry about the availability of some doctors as there are still quite a few of them.

Home doctors can only provide basic health care and services to patients.

Unlike hospitals and clinics in Singapore which boast a handful of available medical equipment and tools, home doctors can only bring what they can fit inside their bags. This means that home doctors can only perform basic health services, such as a physical check-up and a doctor’s prescription. Although specialist home doctors exist, there are still very few of them, and most of them have probably only given basic health care services in-home visits anyway.

Consultation fees for home doctors are quite expensive.

Unfortunately, home doctors’ services such as consultations are very expensive, compared to say a public hospital doctor. This is because home doctors must travel to the patient’s home, and they only have a small number of patients they can serve each day. It is also a relatively new profession with high demand and a small supply of doctors, which drives the fees up in price. Nevertheless, the numerous advantages that home doctors provide are well worth the price according to a lot of patient experiences.