Mobile Healthcare Vans Can Save Millions and Help Disadvantaged Communities
Researchers from Harvard medical school have created a mobile healthcare prototype called the "Family Van."
The Family Van is a mobile clinic which provides preventative health care and education to disadvantaged areas throughout Boston.
The main goal of the program is to educate people about preventative measures to avoid or manage chronic disease.
The Van brings medical services like screening, testing, and education to the doorstep of underserved populations. It focuses on nutrition, weight management, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The researchers developed an algorithm to determine how much money these vans save. The algorithm was based on published research that quantifies health outcomes.
They found that the van saved an incredible $3,125,668 in 2008 by preventing emergency room visits and $17,780,000 was saved by utilizing 7 preventative measures, for a total annual savings of $20,339,968.
The annual cost to run the program was a mere $567,700, making the annual return on investment for a single van $36 for every dollar spent.
This data verifies and quantifies what many people in the preventative healthcare industry already know; that preventative health services can address the healthcare needs of disadvantaged communities and save our overburdened health care system a significant amount of money.
The researchers are now in the process of creating an online calculation tool which will be used to measure the economic impact of the more than 2,000 mobile health programs currently in operation across the nation. They plan to use their findings to raise awareness about the benefits of expanding these programs.