Health Care Goes Mobile

P-W-MKT73733_HlthCare_MobileMeeting the various health needs of a rural population can be an overwhelming challenge, especially when potential patients are spread out and living far from most health care facilities. For the 40,000 citizens of Preble County, convenient access to health care is a very real obstacle, resulting in fewer options to obtain basic, but much needed, preventive health screenings.

Premier Health has recognized this growing need and has launched the Premier Community Health Mobile Clinic.The mobile clinic was made possible by a grant from the Atrium Medical Center Foundation and the Maxon Foundation.

“We saw that people were driving such long distances and wanted to begin partnering with different organizations to meet them where they are,” said Yonathan Kebede, vice president of operations, Fidelity Health Care. “So, we came up with different ideas to see what we could do with it, where could we take it, and maximize its potential.”  

The Premier Community Health Mobile Clinic will begin offering biometric screenings and will eventually provide retinal screenings and hernia screenings, as well. As additional needs are identified, the mobile clinic will continue to evolve as a unique tool for various specialties and services to connect directly with patients.

“We envision a number of possibilities as the program grows,” said Terri Buzzell, RN, Fidelty Health Care. “For example, we would also like to connect with the schools to actually do immunization clinics because of the difficulty many parents face getting their children the required immunizations.”

The clinic will also enable the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project, (BCCP, a grant program through Ohio Department of Health), to provide much-needed mammograms and pap smears to an increasingly underserved population. In addition, the BCCP provides a patient navigation service which can help women obtain screenings, provide follow-up care and point them to a primary care physician, if needed. The availability of the mobile clinic is an essential tool to reach these patients since BCCP currently serves a broad geographical area across 16 counties in Southwest Ohio. 

“Our program is focused on prevention and screenings for women,” said Shari Martin, program manager for BCCP, Fidelity Health Care. “This opens up a lot of possibilities to be able to connect with many unreached groups of people to provide screenings and prevent any further disease processes.”

As needs are recognized and addressed by the Premier Community Health Mobile Clinic, it will allow the organization to learn more about the people it serves and to design better tools and programs to reach them.

“By serving the more immediate health needs, we have the opportunity to meet the long-term needs of our community,” said Kebede.