Mobile Health Map is a collaborative research community whose goal is to evaluate and demonstrate the impact of mobile clinics. What follows are the latest statistics and insights captured through Mobile Health Map showing how mobile health clinics are playing a vital role in the U.S. healthcare system. These programs achieve good patient outcomes, boast impressive returns on investment, and reach underserved communities that otherwise experience barriers to accessing healthcare.
Currently, there are an estimated 2,000 mobile clinics located across the country, representing all states and the Washington, DC. Services include primary care, preventive screening, disease management, behavioral health, dental care, pre-natal care, and pediatric care. Addressing the triple aim of patient outcomes, quality and cost, we find:
- Mobile clinics are improving access to care with up to 6.5 million visits annually. Mobile clinics mainly serve the uninsured (60%) and the publically insured (31%), and generally operate in low-income communities.
- Overall, mobile health clinics in the United States are getting more bang for their buck in providing quality care at a lower cost. The average return on Investment for mobile health is 12:1. That means for every $1 spent, $12 are saved.
- Mobile Clinics provide cost-effective prevention services that help people live long and healthy lives. On average each mobile health clinic saves 65 quality adjusted life years every year of operation. This means that each visit they save on average $1,600 due to this prevention.
- Mobile Clinics provide accessible care at a cheaper cost to the healthcare system than Emergency Department visits. It is estimated that each mobile clinic results in 600 fewer Emergency Department visits every year. This means that each visit to a mobile clinic saves on average $200 (approximately one fifth of an emergency visit).
To date, approximately 789 clinics have joined Mobile Health Map virtual map online. Help us build the case for a strong mobile health sector encouraging other mobile health clinics to join the map, use the tools, and contribute to the success of the sector.
Key Research Findings:
The evidence base around mobile clinics is still growing. Review our Research page for a more comprehensive overview of our research. Findings from key papers are highlighted below.
Breathmobile asthma mobile clinics were found to result in (Scott Morphew et al 2011).
- 66% decline in Emergency Department visits
- 84% decline in hospitalizations
- 78% decline in more than 5 school days missed per year
- 80% of asthma under control by visit 3
- An average return on investment of $7:$1
Visiting the Family Van was associated with reductions in blood pressure by amounts correlated to a 30% relative risk reduction of heart attack and 40% relative risk of stroke (Song, Hill et al Health Affairs 2012).
The return on investment of the Family Van was estimated at $30:$1 based on prevention services provided and ED visits avoided (Oriol et al BMC Central 2009)
Impact on cost
Mobile health clinics are cost effective and include a positive return on investment.
- Average operational cost of a mobile program is $429k per year
- On average a visit costs $155 and yet the savings are twelve times that ($1,800)
- Each visit saves on average $200 due to avoided Emergency Department visits
- Each visit saves on average $1,600 due to long-term impact of preventive services
- National Average return on investment: $12:$1
Impact on Access to Care and Health Equity
Mobile Clinics target the most vulnerable populations in the United States, improving access to and equity of care.
Mobile Clinics are making health care accessible for some of the most difficult to reach groups in both rural and urban communities;, 39% serve only in cities, 14% serve only in rural areas, and 47% serve both rural and urban locations.
Mobile clinics mainly serve the uninsured and the publically insured: (show as infographic)
- 60% uninsured
- 31% publically insured (Medicare/Medicaid/Chip)
- 9% privately insured
Mobile clinics mainly serve minorities: (show as infographic)
- 40% visitors identify as Latino/Hispanic
- 30% visitors identify as Black/African American
Mobile clinics serve a lot of children: (show as infographic)
- 42% under 18
Mobile Clinics are successful at reaching men as well as women: (show as infographic)
- 43% Men
- 57% Women
Impact on Population Health
Mobile clinics provide a wide variety of services. Prevention and primary care are the most common.
Mobile clinics carry out the top 25 most-defined clinical and cost effective prevention services cited by (National Partnership for Prevention). The average clinic creates 64 years of health overall for its patients over their lifetimes. Screenings that contribute most to improvements in health include colorectal cancer screening, breast cancer screening, smoking cessation advice, childhood immunization and obesity screening.
Impact On the Healthcare System
Mobile Clinics can provide value in several ways:
To the ACO/payer/insurer: Mobile clinics focus on prevention and provide accessible care to high needs costly patients. By providing accessible wellness services, mobile clinics have the potential to save payers money, as well as improve the health of their customers. For example, Kaiser Permanent had x mobile clinics as of 2013 and a cost saving of $88 per visit. The aims of their mobile clinics are to: 1) grow market share and increase penetration by serving a nonmember mix, 2) demonstrate performance as a leader in healthcare, and 3) retain patients and target at-risk groups.
On average mobile clinics have each estimated 600 fewer emergency room visits per year.
Research shows that 100 mobile clinic visits save 14 emergency department visits (Scott Morphew 2011). This means on average mobile clinics have each estimated 600 fewer emergency room visits per year.