The Effectiveness of Mobile Health Clinics in Connecting Residents to Healthcare Services
Mobile health clinics (MHCs) can provide an effective referral source for any healthcare organization by strategically targeting populations needing access. MHCs began as early as the 1960s however advocacy for mobile health has been very weak and the impact is unrecognized as an integral part of access to healthcare services in US communities (Hill et al., 2012). The proposed research seeks to answer the study question of whether an MHC can be utilized as an effective vehicle to take mobile healthcare services into the medically underserved communities and close the gap in healthcare access throughout the nation. This study evaluated the effectiveness of MHCs in connecting individuals to healthcare services by assessing the mobile health landscape in the US. A descriptive analysis provided results on the evolution of MHCs, their ability to deliver a variety of needed healthcare services, and their impact across the United States. The results provide much needed information for researcher and practitioner communities on the current mobile health landscape and services available. Second, this research includes a case study analysis focused on evaluating the effectiveness of an MHC for providing services and connecting patients to a permanent source of medical care in the Metropolitan Area of Houston, Texas. The case study highlighted the successes of a single MHC as a community based healthcare resource and provides insight into factors which determine success, both in delivering services and in connecting patients to a permanent source of medical care such as a community health center. The methods for the first section of this study summarized survey data collected from mobile health clinic leaders who currently lead mobile health programs. The leaders were invited to complete a web-based survey that provided project descriptions, affiliation details, impact, and best practices. The second section of this study analyzed data collected from patients who received a health screening through the mobile health clinic program. The third section of the study used patient data to assess the effectiveness of a mobile health clinic in connecting patients to a medical home. The results of the study concluded that Mobile Health Clinics can be utilized as an effective vehicle to take healthcare services “mobile” into the medically underserved communities to help close the healthcare gap. The limitations of the study includes the limited published evidence on the impact of MHCs and their ability to connect residents to a permanent source of healthcare services. Recommendations from the MHC Leaders across programs included ensuring that the mobile health program have dedicated staff to increase success rates and maximize community reach. This study will make a significant contribution to mobile health research by furthering the evidence base assessing the effectiveness of MHCs in increasing access to healthcare services for the underserved.
Trujillo, Marlen Jaime, "The Effectiveness of Mobile Health Clinics in Connecting Residents to Healthcare Services" (2018). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10790281.