And the doctor is at the door
In a situation that frustrates many physicians, Dr. William Simpson saw an opportunity. Dr. Simpson, a board-certified internal medicine physician who grew up in Fairfax County, has been providing primary care services in Fauquier County since 1993. Over the years, he has watched the healthcare industry experience many changes, the most recent being those having to do with insurance. “Providers simply cannot dedicate adequate time to their patients under the current system,” Dr. Simpson said. “Insurance payments encourage short, concise visits.” He frequently had to address only the patient’s immediate needs and send them out the door with other questions unanswered. “I came to the conclusion that that’s not the ideal way to deliver medicine,” Dr. Simpson said. “It’s not fair to the patient, staff, provider, or family of the patient.”
After years of experiencing these pain points in his profession, Dr. Simpson decided it was time to go old school, to leave his practice of 25 years in order to spend more quality time and offer better care to his patients. In the fall of 2018, Doc At Your Door was born.
Doc At Your Door is a completely mobile physician service. There is no office. Dr. Simpson travels to see his patients in their homes, or wherever is convenient for them, such as office, dorm room, hotel, assisted living facility — in other words, pretty much anywhere. He is able to provide a multitude of services including wellness, illness, and injury care, physicals, lab tests, vaccines, and much more. He is extremely passionate about making this a better solution to primary care for people throughout Fauquier and the surrounding counties.
In the beginning, there were challenges, of course. Dr. Simpson has had to get used to carrying his equipment and supplies with him everywhere he goes, rather than having an office stocked with the necessities. Dr. Simpson’s wife, Patty, operates her own geriatrics care management company in the region and has offered him invaluable insight into home-based medical care, from both a nursing and a care management perspective.
He has come to realize that there are so many added benefits to seeing people in their homes, where he is able to see people in the environment that they live in every single day. He can confirm the medications the patient is taking by actually looking at the bottles directly. If the patient is someone who was recently injured and has limitations, he is able to address things like accessibility of the home. “This is how healthcare was delivered back in the day,” Dr. Simpson said. And the growth of technology is making home physician visits a more viable form of care. “So much of what we do is portable,” Dr. Simpson said. “For instance, I can do EKGs through an app on my phone.” He is also able to offer Telehealth services, via video call, which is often very efficient.
Dr. Simpson treats patients of all ages, backgrounds, and needs. “‘I’m not homebound so I guess I don’t qualify,’ is the biggest myth that I try to overcome,” Dr. Simpson said. “Most of my patients are not homebound, they just appreciate the convenience and privacy of home service.” Patient convenience is a major benefit of Doc At Your Door. Dr. Simpson has met with patients at their workplace, at the gym, and even at hotels for people who are away from access to their primary care physician. He said, “I’m available 24/7, so if people need to meet with me in the evenings, they don’t have to take time off of work.”
Dr. Simpson prides himself on being able to offer this high-quality service to his patients. “It’s a great option for people who want convenience, privacy, and to avoid the chaos and the rush environment that can be typical of regular physicians offices.” It can be healthier, too, he explained. A physician’s office waiting room puts patients in contact with others with contagious conditions. “When I treated patients out of an office, I used to have people come in for a well visit and a few days later they were back because they had gotten sick.”
While there are ups and downs to building any business, Dr. Simpson sees hardly any downsides to Doc At Your Door. “I used to be very limited in the time I could spend with patients, and now I don’t have to cut people off before we have addressed all their issues. It’s wonderful, “ Dr. Simpson said. “I really do hope the system will change over time, but right now I love having the time to dedicate to people and their needs.”
You can learn more about Doc At Your Door and Dr. Simpson at docatyourdoor.care.