Recently the advancement of mobile radiologic imaging technology has made it possible for homebound patients to prevent a trip to the hospital or clinic. Portable xray machines are often wheeled into the patient's home or any other location. They can even be transported up flights of stairs sometimes. With these machines, an xray image could be obtained, then processed on location and wirelessly shipped to the ordering physician and/or radiologist for interpretation. The treating physician may even access the images with a laptop computer, iPad or perhaps a smart phone such as an iPhone or Droid. Image quality is excellent now compared with just a few years ago. Obtaining portable xrays with a patient's home, while costlier than when done at the radiology imaging center, frequently proves to be cost saving. Typical fees for portable xrays completed in the home, such as a chest xray or set of ankle xrays, are about $350 in comparison with $50 when the patient travels towards the xray facility. However, the cost of an ambulance ride for the non-ambulatory patient may go better, and may not be covered by insurance. When patients must go the the emergency department for an xray, a common occurrence after hours, the charge may be in the thousands.
Mobile urgent care services operating out of San Francisco, frequently utilize these mobile radiologic services to provide doctor house calls service. They take vid step further by giving this technology to patients of every age group, not just the homebound elderly. They may be staffed by emergency physicians in addition to their assistants. These house call providers are highly familiar with emergency medical care and so are fully capable of managing mild to moderate orthopedic trauma, for example ankle sprains, broken wrists, etc. After the xray is obtained on location, physicians carry splinting equipment to ensure injuries may be easily and quickly immobilized for comfort. Medications are dispensed for the patient's convenience, or prescribed for pickup at a local pharmacy.
This way, patients are not required to disclose marathon waiting times within an ER. The physicians offering doctor house calls service hold the luxury of time to ensure patient communication is generous and questions have been answered. Housecall providers remain readily available by telephone after the visit should patients have further questions or problems.
Additional portable radiologic services offering convenience and cost savings include ultrasound and EKGs. While lightweight EKG machines have been established for some time and are easily utilized in the housecall, ultrasounds have only fairly recently become compact enough for east travel. The truth is, recent times have seen the development of handheld ultrasound devices permitting quick visual assessment of numerous problems at just about any location.