|Mobile health clinics across the nation provide health services to an estimated 7.5 million people each year, generally those without health insurance or access to the conventional health care system. These traveling clinics typically operate out of large, customized specialty vehicles, and they take the form of medical clinics, dental centers, counseling rooms or imaging suites for preventative or diagnostic testing.Mobile clinics serve a wide range of patients: from the out of work and uninsured, to the homeless veteran, to the migrant farm worker. These clinics generally grow out of need and, because of that, communicating their value and ways to access their services is of upmost importance. Keep reading for some ways to do just that.|
The benefits of traveling clinics
There are a slew of benefits to mobile clinics. Most importantly, they improve access to care. Here’s how:
- Location, location, location: Many people are deprived of the most basic healthcare simply because they don’t have the means to get to a hospital or clinic. For some living in rural areas, depressed regions or even small cities, access to healthcare can be difficult. Mobile clinics deliver healthcare right to their neighborhoods.
- Cost-effectiveness: Mobile clinics are cost-effective. There are an estimated 2,000 mobile health clinics across the U.S. and they are averaging a $21 return for every $1 invested. The preventative care these clinics afford to those who might not otherwise receive it reduces the number of ER visits, averts major health crises and increases quality of life and well-being.
- Safe environment: Some people have a negative perception of the typical hospital or clinic setting. Others are plagued with mental health problems or substance abuse issues that keep them from seeking healthcare. And some fear judgment, persecution or even deportation and therefore prefer to stay away from a brick-and-mortar facility. Mobile clinics evoke a safe, nonjudgmental environment for people of diverse backgrounds.
Promoting your community’s mobile clinic
Mobile clinics exist due to a community’s need. It’s important to let those in need know where these movable care units will be and when. Here’s how:
- Use your resource centers: Drop off a basket of magnets imprinted with a clinic schedule at your local Department of Health or Department of Family Services. And don’t stop there; promote your services at your local food pantry, churches and warming shelters—a mini hygiene kit imprinted with clinic details is a great way to spread the word.
- Get in the schools: Promote the mobile unit’s services in the public schools. Ask administration for a mention in the school newsletter. Or provide students with a flyer accompanied by a health stress reliever that outlines clinic dates, locations and services.
- Promote on-site: Make sure you promote the mobile clinic on-site during clinic hours. Place sidewalk signs on adjacent blocks that point patients in the right direction. And place Outdoor Sail Signs at the clinic location to let people know it’s open and ready to help. Then, send visitors on their way with an imprinted granola bar and a bottle of water to thank them for stopping in.
Remember, mobile clinics provide access to healthcare to those who otherwise may not have it. These diamonds in the rough keep people healthy, happy and safe. With a lot of dedication and a little bit of promotion, your clinic and your community can make a difference in the lives of many.
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Vavasis, Anthony, MD. “The Value of Mobile Health.” Omh. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 10 Dec. 2013.
“Why Mobile?” Mobile Medical, Health Care, Custom Vehicles, Mobile Units, Trailers, Vehicles- Service Information. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 10 Dec. 2013.