Health care has been evolving to meet the needs of a more modern world. One example of this evolution is mobile medical clinics. The use of these clinics has been rising over the last decade. It’s a new way to provide health care, while also being a business opportunity for those that operate them. Here’s what you need to know about mobile medical clinics.

What’s a Mobile Medical Clinic?

Mobile medical clinics are vehicles that travel in the community to provide preventative and reactive health care. They are also referred to as mobile health clinics. Mobile medical clinics are typically located in underserved communities. The services provided by these vehicles include urgent care, primary care, and mental health services. They also assist with chronic disease management and social services. Mobile medical clinics can be found in the suburbs, big cities, and rural areas.

How Are Mobile Medical Clinics a Business Opportunity?

In the United States, about 12.4% of the population struggles to get access to a doctor. That’s about 40.7 million people that could be reached through a mobile medical clinic. It’s a significant target market that business owners can capitalize on, while also providing an essential service. These clinics can replace unnecessary emergency visits, which can lessen the load on a hospital’s emergency department. Mobile medical clinics are also seen as a solution for getting patients to show up for follow-up appointments, which opens up more of a target market.

It’s estimated that the return on investment a mobile clinic owner will get is $12 per $1 invested. A few estimates think the return could be as high as $30. This business opportunity has been one of the main contributors to the rise of mobile health clinics in the last decade. By the year 2015, there were estimated to be about 1500-2000 mobile medical clinics in the US. In that year, the clinics received over 5 million visits.

The International Journal for Equity and Health noted that mobile health clinics might also contribute to an increase in health care cost savings. The increase in cost savings allows the health care system to operate more cost-effectively. Community organizations and businesses are now hiring mobile health care clinics, and insurance companies are adding MHC care to their coverage. These positive developments make mobile health care clinics a potentially lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs and health care professionals to invest in.

Additionally, mobile health clinics can potentially generate new leads as they’re traveling around the community. With the name and brand on the vehicle, mobile clinics are essentially a moving advertisement. People who see the name or number on the vehicle may decide to inquire about your clinic’s services. The convenience of receiving medical care from home may be attractive to many consumers.

What Are The Costs Of a Mobile Health Clinic?

A majority of the cost of mobile health clinics involves purchasing the vehicle and maintenance. The vehicle typically costs around $300,000. The average estimate for yearly costs of running an MHC program is around $437,000. Additionally, the equipment can be a large cost depending on the type of care that an MHC is offering. Surveys have found that about 45% of mobile health care clinics provide prevention screenings, 42% provide primary care, and 30% provide dental services. Each service will vary in equipment needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Mobile Medical Vehicles?

One of the main advantages of these vehicles is its flexibility. A number of patients are unable to travel to hospitals or live in rural areas that don’t have any that are close. A mobile health clinic can meet a patient wherever they are to provide them medical services. These clinics are particularly helpful to minority communities, children, homeless areas, and low-income neighborhoods. Recreational vehicles or other large vehicles are typically used to operate as MHCs, since they can hold the necessary equipment and staff required.

Mobile medical vehicles also tend to be equipped with state-of-the-art medical tools and modern IT solutions. Another benefit of a mobile medical clinic is they can be ready to provide health services in times of disaster. Communities that are victims of earthquakes, floods, or other disasters may not have immediate access to medical services. Mobile health vehicles can come to these areas with doctors, nurses, and medical equipment to help aid victims.

How Effective Are Mobile Health Clinics?

The International Journal of Equity in Health collected data on the use of mobile health clinics in the community. They concluded that mobile health clinics successfully provided easier access to health services for high-risk patients. Experts in the health industry tend to look to emergency department utilization rates to gain an understanding of the health of a region. Experts conclude when ED utilization rates are excessive, that means there are critical primary care needs within the community.

The research in the journal concluded that visits from a mobile health clinic reduced the costs and utilization of emergency departments in the community. Additionally, in some communities, mobile health clinics have lowered the readmission rates, increased symptom-free days, and improved patient reports of quality of life. The journal also noted with the difficulty of accessing health care reduced, MHCs have given more opportunities for underserved populations to be screened for health conditions and learn how to manage their health.

Mobile health clinics were found to be effective in improving chronic disease management. One of the main obstacles of chronic disease management is sustaining adherence to lifestyle changes and necessary medications. Evidence in the data of multiple MHCs led the journal to conclude that mobile clinics successfully helped patients address these challenges. A study found that MHCs reduced LDL in high blood pressure patients because patients had received more self-management support, and they had a regular place for treatment access. 

All of these findings could mean more mobile medical clinics will be in communities in the future. Any organization interested in implementing a mobile health clinic will need to evaluate logistics, funding, and business goals before implementing one. If you’re interested in learning more about mobile medical clinics, you can find more information at this link: https://www.craftsmenind.com/mobile-medical-vehicles-new-used.