Technology & Wearables

Speed and Service: The Return of House Calls from the Mobilized Doctors of Today - and Tomorrow

We need to change our assumptions about technology and health care, eschewing the notion that the former depersonalizes the latter; reducing men and women - patients and children - into mere numbers, to be processed, categorized, rated and pasted on some actuarial table about "good" candidates versus "bad" customers.

For mobile devices (or rather, specific applications for those devices) have the potential to restore the beloved custom of house calls, by doctors and nurses, for the digital age. This sense of immediacy - the freedom to instantly request, review and retain a physician - coupled with a spirit of intimacy, where users can have a face-to-face, video conversation with a doctor, who can do everything from render a diagnosis, provide fee-for-service care or act as someone's medical concierge; the entirety of this experience, encapsulated within a single application, is revolutionary.

I write these words without exaggeration or a penchant for science fiction, as if the scenario I describe is an imagined utopia of global comity, intergalactic exploration and the sort of health care more befitting an episode of "Star Trek" than the triage that governs a typical emergency room. On the contrary, the situation I depict is available right now.

It is one that furthers the best ideals of health and wellness by maximizing the value of the best devices - the smartphones and tablets - that workers use on a daily basis. (My stake in this discussion is both one of personal interest and professional commitment because, in my role as Founder of OnCall, which enables businesses and consumers to connect with relevant professionals, we have the chance to improve the quality of health care in general without compromising the efficiency of various medical organizations in particular.)

In this respect, we can revive the celebrated practices of a bygone era by making contemporary house calls just that, a real-time means of getting a diagnosis from a physician; a bedside exam from the palm of your hand, framed within the video window on an iPhone or Android device, eliminating the one thing that even the most resolute country doctor cannot overcome, regardless of all methods of available transportation: Distance.In those areas, many miles from the nearest hospital or the most threadbare of county clinics, nothing travels more quickly than - not even a speeding bullet or a locomotive is faster or has the power of - the mighty electron, circling the globe and reconfiguring itself in text and video before our very eyes.

That, with all due apologies to having invoked (for purposes of comparison) the phrasing from the Superman radio serials of the 1940s, is the present - and our collective future - of more personalized health care.

The End-Result: Superior Care and Lower Costs on Behalf of a Culture of Wellness

This point about distance also ends any excuses an employee may have about not seeing a doctor. For, while no one necessarily welcomes a medical appointment or frank advice from his or her physician, the complaint about distance - that the trip to and from a doctor's office, taking into consideration traffic and sitting in a crowded waiting room, is too much of an inconvenience - well, the technology I champion renders that hypothetical moot.

By describing what you need, and upon receiving bids from qualified professionals (for which you can read reviews about each candidate), you can, at minimum, find and hire (for an hourly consultation) a doctor, nurse or nutritionist to help you. Remember, too, that a culture of wellness must start somewhere.

Meaning: If we seek to have a discussion about corporate wellness, then we must first have a conversation about personal wellness. There is no easier way to have that call than by using the mobile devices every worker has, and every employee uses. Your doctor awaits your call.

About the Author

Brandon Xavier is Founder of OnCall, a mobile (for iOS and Android devices) and desktop service, which enables consumers and businesses to recruit and retain professionals throughout a multitude of industries.

Along with reviews or background about each professional, in addition to the freedom to video conference with the candidates of your choosing, OnCall allows you to find and hire the right expert -- in just a few minutes.

A native of Toronto, Brandon holds a BSc in Computer Science from Staffordshire University (UK) and an MBA from the University of Toronto.

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