Mobile Health Clinics in the Era of Reform
Objectives: Despite the role of mobile clinics in delivering care to the full spectrum of at-risk populations, the collective impact of mobile clinics has never been assessed. This study characterizes the scope of the mobile clinic sector and its impact on access, costs, and quality. It explores the role of mobile clinics in the era of delivery reform and expanded insurance coverage.
Study design: A synthesis of observational data collected through Mobile Health Map and published literature related to mobile clinics.
Methods: Analysis of data from the Mobile Health Map Project, an online platform that aggregates data on mobile health clinics in the United States, supplemented by a comprehensive literature review.
Results: Mobile clinics represent an integral component of the healthcare system that serves vulnerable populations and promotes high-quality care at low cost. There are an estimated 1500 mobile clinics receiving 5 million visits nationwide per year. Mobile clinics improve access for vulnerable populations, bolster prevention and chronic disease management, and reduce costs. Expanded coverage and delivery reform increase opportunities for mobile clinics to partner with hospitals, health systems, and insurers to improve care and lower costs.
Conclusions: Mobile clinics have a critical role to play in providing high-quality, low-cost care to vulnerable populations. The postreform environment, with increasing accountability for population health management and expanded access among historically underserved populations, should strengthen the ability for mobile clinics to partner with hospitals, health systems, and payers to improve care and lower costs.