Patients who received on-the-go screenings and counseling at an urban mobile health clinic in Massachusetts experienced improvements in BP and ED use.
Researchers examined the effects of BP screening and patient counseling based on 5,900 patients who made 10,509 visits to the Family Van between 2010 and 2012. Patients presenting with high BP during their initial visit experienced average reductions of 10.7 mm Hg in systolic BP and 6.2 mm Hg in diastolic BP during follow-up visits, according to data published in Health Affairs.
Patients who visited the Family Van reduced their relative risk for MI by 32.2% and relative risk for stroke by 44.6%. Another benefit of mobile clinic care was fewer patient-reported ED visits.
“Patient education is key,” Caterina Hill, MSc, a research associate in the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Cardiology Today.
“A typical encounter on the Family Van includes two health screenings, followed by health coaching and referrals where necessary. This program takes an integrated approach to prevention and chronic disease management, addressing the range of health and social issues that the patients may be experiencing,” said Hill, who is manager of research and evaluation for the Family Van, based in Boston. “The aim is to increase the patients’ health literacy and empower them to be able to make lifestyle changes that are feasible, given their unique personal situation, economic options and cultural preferences.”
Partnerships with neighborhood health centers and other organizations are also important, Hill said. The protocols are reviewed annually and are consistent with the American Heart Association and other evidence-based guidelines.
Thousands of mobile health clinics operate nationally. Hill said the research team has started to map the mobile health clinics via mobilehealthmap.org.
“We hope our recent study will encourage policymakers and health care administrators to consider mobile clinics as a potentially cost-effective and clinically beneficial model of health care delivery,” she said. – by Deb Dellapena
For more information:
Song Z. Health Aff (Millwood). 2013;32:36-44.
Disclosure: Hill is employed by the Family Van clinic. The other researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.