Objective: To review the historical perspective and current incidence of home visits by physicians and pharmacists, discuss the concept of pharmacists providing care "incident-to" the physician, and introduce a new endeavor of collaborative, incident-to home visits by a pharmacist and physician.
Data sources: A literature search was performed using MEDLINE (1966-May 2003). The search terms used were home visit, house call, incident-to, collaborative care, physician, and pharmacist.
Study selection and data extraction: All pertinent articles were evaluated.
Data synthesis: Home visits were once considered a hallmark of patient care, but have decreased to an average of 0.4 home visits per week for primary care physicians. Home visits are essential for patients unable to commute to the office due to a disability or illness. However, home visits also allow the physician to determine how conditions affect a patient's everyday life, in addition to assessing the living environment. Minimal documented evidence exists of pharmacists making home visits and no documented evidence exists of pharmacists and physicians collaboratively making home visits. The pharmacist complements the value of the visit by assessing medication appropriateness as well as medication administration, storage, accessibility, and adherence.
Conclusions: Current practice styles often compromise services that were once paramount to patient care, as evidenced by a decline in home visits. Recent trends in health care attempt to compensate for high-volume practices and managed care restrictions. A collaborative relationship between a pharmacist and physician with visits into the patient's home is a movement toward improved continuity of care.