Mobile clinics play an important role in providing healthcare to at-rick populations in both urban and rural areas. Mobile Clinics operating in the U.S, provide essential healthcare services to over five million visits per year. These programs have grown considerably over time but it has become necessary to expand this essential healthcare delivery system.
In 2016, the National Science Foundation www.ndf.gov awarded the University of Texas Health Science Center https://www.uth.edu a contract titled “Increasing Healthcare Access to At-Rick Populations: Research-Based Policies for Mobile Health Clinics” for $249,293. The end date for this research is estimated to be August 31, 2018.
Research is going to optimize and implement a data-based program to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile health clinics but at the same time, target resources where they would do the most good in the Houston region.
The project involves designing systematic strategies for meeting future healthcare needs of low-income communities by implementing mobile clinic programs in these communities. The hope is that this project will result in a 20 percent increase in mobile health clinic capacity and produce significant savings in healthcare costs.
The research team is in the process of:
- Applying data mining and forecasting techniques to estimate present and future demand of healthcare services in selected communities
- Combining these approaches with advance GIS mapping tools and measures to identify target population clusters.
- Conducting survey and economic analysis to measure operational costs and identify operational constraints in the present mobile clinic programs in the Houston region
- Estimating the overall healthcare cost savings and quality of life impact at the community level at baseline and post intervention.
So far, researchers have identified communities with high demand for some specific mobile clinic services in Houston and have made recommendations to their hospital partners. Ultimately, the researchers hope to reduce healthcare costs and disparities by identifying policies and strategies to encourage development of a comprehensive and collaborative program using mobile health units in Texas and then across the U.S.