The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 44 No. 4 - Update in Asthma Management

House calls in Singapore – A Qualitative Study

Soh Ling Ling
Koh Choon-Huat Gerald
Rakhi Mittal
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 44 No 4 - Update in Asthma Management
35 - 42
1 September 2018
Background Historically, physicians routinely delivered medical care to sick patients in patients' homes. While house calls accounted for 40% of all doctor-patient encounters In the 1940s, the rate has since dwindled to less than 1%. Based on some studies done overseas, the reasons for the unpopularity of house calls were the lack of time and unsatisfactory remuneration. The aim of this study was to explore the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) currently practicing in Singapore towards house calls. Design A qualitative study using phenomenological methodology was done by conducting one-to-one in-depth interviews with 12 GPs. Results All the GPs interviewed were aware of the benefits of house calls in the healthcare scene of Singapore. The commonest barrier was concern about the limitations perceived to be present during a house call and their possible medicolegal implications. GPs also struggled with charging appropriately for house calls and found them disruptive to their practices. Conclusion: The study shows that GPs recognize the value of making house calls but at the same time struggle with perceived limitations in the home setting as well as remuneration issues.