Medical professionals who have become doctors on call for the local community have a great responsibility.


Whether their background is operating as a general practitioner (GP), a surgeon, an intensive care worker or a specialist in a niche medical field, these are providers who are required to venture out into the towns, suburbs and living premises of the people on location.


Unlike emergency rooms and call outs to hospitals from the 000 number for patients in distress, this is an industry all unto itself.


The demands placed on doctors in these scenarios are unique and should any professional seek out this category of work, they must acknowledge the expectations that are evident from the public.


When arriving to a home equipped with the expertise and tools on hand to diagnose and treat the individual in question, there are some stipulations that are placed on all parties.


Here we will delve into the issues surrounding that relationship between doctor and patient for Australian operators who answer those important call outs.


Home Calls a Growing Trend

One of the factors that is clear when it comes to the domain of doctors on call is that this industry is only expanding and heading in one direction. As other fields in the world of commerce happen to be transitioning towards a shared economy model that sees more brands breaking the mold to deliver goods and services direct to the consumer, the public health sector is taking notice. There are limitations and parameters around this notion of home delivered health services, however it is a practice that will evolve over time with the introduction of technological advancements.


Online and Offline Booking Options

In 2018, doctors on call must be in tune with the expectations and behaviours of 21st Century communication methods. When apps such as Uber and Airbnb have changed the way in which citizens interact with providers and seek to order goods or services in real time, there is a need for doctors to be available through these portals. Given a quality website and perhaps the inclusion of an app, they are catering to that market.


However, there must also be an acknowledgement that users who are seeking on call doctors are doing so because their elderly age prevents them from being transported to a practitioner’s office. In that respect, there must be clearly defined offline methods where regular phone calls are presented as medical operators promote themselves through traditional media, including print advertisement, radio and television spots.


Ambiguity Over Emergency Status

There has to be an acceptance when it comes to doctors on call that they will arrive on location for a patient that requires emergency care. This is a scenario whereby a 000 call will suffice and not that of a general house visit, but there will be occasions when that won’t be self-diagnosed and mistakes will be made. Rather than lecture the individual on the merits and rules of the service, their health must be top of the agenda.


After Hours a Priority

When patients are not in an emergency situation but cannot wait for the morning until they visit an office, then doctors on call should be available. These after hours services between the 5pm and 8am windows are the peak times for practitioners to be ready for members of the community. There are other occasions whereby a patient is simply incapacitated and a business hours visit will suffice, however there will be a healthy portion who will place a priority on after hours care.


Insurance and Plans Included

Bulk billing is an option that doctors on call should adhere to if the patient is a Medicare recipient or is covered comprehensively by private health insurance. These are safeguards to protect individuals from being charged for expensive medical care and this is a facet that is regularly taken into account with any medical service across Australia.