words Al Woods
Like every other industry, healthcare is becoming more tech-centric. Talks of decentralization of healthcare have become more popular in recent times with the growth of telemedicine and other similar technologies.
But then, while hospitals are looking to reach more people via their mobile devices, it’s not the only way to decentralize service. Outside of information, distance and finance are some of the biggest barriers to healthcare for people.
For healthcare practitioners and policymakers, it’s imperative to reduce the barrier to healthcare for everyone. That includes making healthcare more accessible and cheaper.
Mobile clinics are becoming more important to healthcare as a medium for dispensing primary healthcare services. They can simply be a doctor’s office where minor medical examinations can be done and drugs prescribed.
In this article, we will be looking at why every hospital should have at least one mobile clinic:
Improves accessibility for patients
According to a 2017 report from the Population Medical Health Advisory Board, 25% of patients lack transportation to medical appointments. While the reasons for this lack of accessibility may vary depending on the region, bringing the hospital closer to the people is one sure way to ameliorate it.
Mobile clinics help because they reduce the distance between patients and their medical appointments, making it easier for them to receive the care they need. They are crucial in rural areas where distance may be more challenging than in urban centers. In those regions, taking the clinic to patients is a way to eliminate missed appointments.
Reduces outpatient traffic at the hospital
Outpatient care is a significant part of medical service. In 2019, it accounted for around 47.2% of the revenue generated by hospitals across America. That said, having too many outpatients can put a strain on the physical capacities of the hospital.
Instead of having to jostle so many outpatients, a mobile truck can help hospitals manage traffic. Identify the locations that bring the foot traffic to the hospital, and place a mobile clinic there to attend to the people coming from there. Think of it as a hospital on wheels with cheaper rent. Once that’s successful, hospital facilities can be repurposed to accommodate more in-patients.
Improves customer service
Mobile clinics often have smaller foot traffic than in-person clinics. While that’s mostly down to the number of people who are open to using them, it’s still a plus. Having fewer people to attend to means that medical professionals can offer more care and support to the people that come to them.
It means doctors and nurses on duty can afford to be more patient with their patients. They can take their time to understand their concerns and eventually offer them better lifestyle advice.
Can help gain new patients
At the end of the day, a hospital is still a business, and businesses want to get more customers. In this case, that’s more patients. Mobile clinics are more than just outpost hospitals. They can be moving advertisement boards when properly designed.
These vehicles allow you to advertise your service to thousands of prospective patients every day at zero additional cost. When set up well, it also allows these prospective patients to get a feel of what your service is like. Mobile clinics serve as a registration point for new patients.
Enhances the use of technology
It’s almost impossible to run a successful mobile clinic without digital technology. Integrating digital technology into mobile clinics helps the staff obtain patients’ data, manage information, and even register new patients.
Mobile clinics can also be fitted to handle several kinds of conditions. Dental care, medical examinations, and research labs can all be fitted into a mobile clinic. You can also have tools for identifying early-stage cancer and coronary infections.
Tips for Building a Mobile Clinic
There are over 2000 mobile health clinics active in the US, but they aren’t nearly enough. The clinics receive over 6.5 million visits in 2017, with the numbers certain to grow in the post-Covid era. This is due to the long-term effects of social distancing and other lockdown restrictions on community behavior. People are likely to maintain safe distancing and avoid crowded areas for the foreseeable future.
For every medical center looking to build a mobile clinic, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Identify the communities in need: As highlighted earlier, identifying the communities you need to target is important. It can be as simple as identifying underserved communities around you that would benefit from your healthcare service.
- Let your staff know: If you’re building a mobile clinic, you’ll need people to man it. That means you may need some of your workers to work outside the office premises on some days. It’s imperative to carry them along, so they feel involved in the decision-making. Sure, some may hate the idea, but you’ll also find those that absolutely love it.
- Decide whether you’re going to refit a van or build from scratch: Depending on the services you offer, you may either need to refit a van or build from scratch. When dealing with slightly medical procedures that require special installations, you may have to build from scratch. An excellent place to start looking for fabricators is https://www.craftsmenind.com/
- Make it look good: Mobile clinics make good advertisement boards only when you put in the effort. Make sure people know what the truck is about by branding it in the most beautiful way possible. It’s essential to highlight identifying information like your practice name, phone number, and email, so people who see you on the road can reach out to you later.
- Partner with community organizations: Implementing a successful mobile clinic only gets easier when you’re collaborating with members of the community. Collaborations can fast-track permits and passes you need to set up the clinic. It’s also ideal for collaborating with adjacent organizations like social services, rehabilitation facilities, and food pantries. They can be useful places to make referrals in certain cases.