As medical needs change, healthcare must move towards innovation. Mobile health clinics can provide more equitable care, by reducing health disparities and providing easier access to facilities for the chronically ill, uninsured patients, and other communities in need. A mobile clinic may be the best solution for providing access to convenient testing, hands-on education, product demonstration, or other medical services. While a mobile clinic may be right for your health care practice, starting up and operating with success comes with challenges.
Benefits of a Mobile Health Clinic
A medical professional's ability to reach patients quickly, with equipment and facilities on hand, can be invaluable. A mobile clinic costs less to set up and run than other types of traditional healthcare clinics and can make healthcare more affordable as well as accessible to the community.
Mobile health clinics can save patients money by allowing them to avoid costly emergency room visits. Communities with mobile clinics have far fewer emergency room visits each year. When providing preventative services, they can also reduce the amount of critical medical care needed by local individuals. With overhead and running costs far less than that of a traditional hospital or care facility, a mobile clinic is able to extend medical access to vulnerable populations that may otherwise be overlooked.
A small mobile unit is able to specifically tailor its services to provide greater healthcare accessibility. The flexibility that a mobile clinic provides can help healthcare providers to easily adapt and respond to a community’s evolving health needs.
Tips for Mobile Clinic Success
Before you can get out on the road, you need a plan. Choosing a population demographic to serve, researching medical vehicles to meet your needs, deciding on what supplies and equipment you will need, and figuring out how to spread the word about your clinic are some of the things you will have to consider. Here are some important tips to help you succeed.
Research Your Target Area
When starting up a mobile health clinic, be sure to start by researching your community’s specific needs. While your clinic is mobile and able to change locations, you will most likely be operating within a specific local population. Collect relevant information about the area you plan to be based in. Understand the unique needs of the people you will be serving. For example, you will want to make decisions on whether you are looking to provide services primarily to unhoused individuals, the uninsured, those living in rural areas, etc.
For some members of the community, mobile clinics will be their only means of receiving vital medical treatment. Collect input from patients, as well as from community leaders, about what is needed in the area. Local charity organizations may also be able to identify where you could best be of assistance.
Doing thorough research will also make you aware of any other established mobile facilities in the area. This way you’re not oversaturating a particular community. If there are other mobile clinics, look at moving to other areas or offering services not currently available.
Consult with Professionals to Equip Your Facility
Whichever population demographic you wish to serve, and medical care options you choose to provide, you will need advice on how to equip your mobile clinic. There are professionals who specialize in the creation of mobile medical facilities, such as Craftsmen, who can lead you in the right direction.
Your mobile clinic can be custom designed to fit your needs. It’s important that you have the space to fit the equipment you will need, as well as a clean and attractive outer appearance to make patients feel comfortable approaching. Consider outfitting the exterior with quality custom graphics that make it clear which services you offer.
Create a Marketing Plan
Before you actually launch your mobile health clinic, you will want to make sure that people in the community are aware that you are coming. Reach out to other agencies in your area, especially churches, community health centers, hospitals, childcare centers, schools, and other relevant organizations. Design flyers to be distributed and create an online presence with a website and social media accounts.
When ready, be sure to hire a culturally competent staff that can easily interact with diverse populations and will be sensitive to different social circumstances. This will be a big help with word-of-mouth marketing to the rest of the community. When providing services to vulnerable populations, trust, respect, and friendliness are very important.
Starting and maintaining a mobile health clinic is not an easy endeavor. But with proper research into the community, creating professional and reliable facilities, and putting in place a strong marketing strategy, a mobile clinic can be profitable while also providing vital medical care and assistance to those in need.