Mobile healthcare gaining popularity

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Mobile healthcare gaining popularity

Healthcare continues to evolve to meet the needs of a changing society. New and innovative approaches aim to increase access to care, improve patient health, and reduce medical costs.

Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH), also known as community paramedicine, is a relatively new and emerging specialty of emergency medical services (EMS). It provides in-home medical visits for people with chronic and complex medical conditions. These conditions may include hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), or COVID-19.

MIH programs vary widely and are operated by hospitals, fire departments, and other agencies. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) commonly staff the service. They work collaboratively with other medical professionals, such as nurse practitioners and physicians, to provide oversight on each patient’s medical management.

Participants in MIH often are referred to the service by a primary care provider, emergency physician, or care coordinator.

The goal of MIH is to prevent unnecessary or repeated emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The service also provides support to patients who face transportation barriers getting to and from medical appointments and those who have social service needs.

During their visits, the medical team performs a health assessment complete with vital signs and physical examination. They provide education about medications and may recommend lifestyle changes to improve an individual’s quality of life. They can provide telemedicine visits with patients when deemed necessary.

According to the National Institutes of Health, mobile health clinics like MIH can improve access to care by serving as a vital link between the community and clinical facilities. However, additional work is needed to advance availability of this important resource.

Horizon Health provides an MIH service. If you believe you may qualify for MIH, or to learn more, call 217-466-4911.