New UCLA study shows patients are happier and healthier with doctors at home
Health care providers and patients who visit doctors at their homes are happier with the care they receive, according to a study published online Monday.
In a survey of 6,200 people, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center found that when doctors treated patients in their homes, the patients felt more satisfied, healthier and less depressed.
“When physicians see patients in the hospital, patients have a more positive impression of the care being provided, and they report feeling better overall than when they are seen by a physician in their own home,” said Dr. William F. Hines, a senior author of the study and a professor of medicine at Columbia.
“It’s a bit like having a new car and a new driver, but the car is a bit more reliable and you can drive it more easily,” Hines said.
“In a sense, the more the physician treats patients in a home setting, the better the patient’s health will be,” he added.
Hines’ research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Other studies have shown that patients who spend time in their home for routine care are more likely to have better quality of life, lower costs and fewer hospitalizations than those who are seen in an emergency room.
The study focused on how doctors and patients respond to treatment at home.
The study found that doctors treated more patients who visited home as patients with a chronic health condition, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions.
Dr. Christopher B. O’Connell, a co-author of the paper, said that a significant portion of the improvement in the health of patients who were treated in home comes from the home visits.
“We’re not just talking about patients who are going to have some more physical activity and exercise, we’re talking about people who are taking a much more holistic approach to their care,” O’Connor said.
According to the study, home visits made people feel less anxious, less stressed and more in control of their health and well-being.
“Home visits make people feel good about themselves and their own health, and when patients feel good, they’re more likely, for example, to report that they’re feeling well, that they can be in better physical condition, that their symptoms are less severe, and that they are having more energy,” Hine said.
O’Connell said the findings are likely to be useful for doctors in other ways.
“One of the things that’s particularly interesting is that it shows that physicians actually see patients differently when they’re in their offices,” he said.
The findings are based on a survey involving 2,500 people.
It has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.