Mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) is making positive changes across the USA, yet many people are still unaware of the vast benefits of these programs. How can we increase knowledge of mobile-integrated healthcare? Let’s talk about it.
The best way to increase the knowledge of mobile-integrated healthcare is for more MIH programs to continue producing excellent results. Success tends to excite people and lead to more success, creating a snowball effect. However, aside from this, there are practical things health systems across the country can do to raise awareness of MIH.
Let’s talk about why mobile-integrated healthcare is still unknown to many. Then, we’ll talk about how we can make people more aware of the benefits of this healthcare model.
Why Mobile Integrated Healthcare is Still Relatively Unknown
If you took a random poll on the street, everyone would know what the police department, fire department, or hospital does, but somehow, mobile integrated healthcare is still unknown. However, there are a few understandable reasons for this.
Reasons MIH is often unknown:
- It’s relatively new
- MIH combines several different areas of community wellness
- Mobile integrated health means other things to different people
Let’s look at these things in more depth.
Note: If you’re interested, here’s an article on a simple definition of community paramedicine.
Mobile Integrated Health (MIH-CP) Is Still Relatively Knew
The first reason Mobile-integrated health is relatively unknown is that the program is still in relatively early stages. The idea of home visits from a clinician is nothing new, but this fell out of favor for some time before now seeing a revival.
There have been some sparks of mobile integrated healthcare for the past twenty years, but this modern movement has only been taking shape in the past ten years.
And even now, most of the population has never heard of mobile integrated health. This presents a challenge, as it’s hard to get a community to start something (no matter how beneficial) that they don’t know about!
Mobile integrated healthcare isn’t a complex idea, but there are some reasons why it isn’t more popular. Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with a marathon instead of a sprint. New MIH-CP programs can grow slowly, but hopefully, mobile-integrated healthcare is taking time to lay strong foundations.
Mobile Integrated Health Combines Many Health Disciplines
Another reason mobile integrated healthcare isn’t more popular is that it combines many health disciplines. This may seem contradictory, but wouldn’t combined health disciplines make mobile healthcare more popular?
Mobile integrated health is more of an idea, a way of doing medicine, than a specific practice. For example, a dentist works in a dental office and works on the mouth. This is very specific, consistent, and concrete.
However, a mobile-integrated health professional could be a firefighter, paramedic, nurse, or mental health professional. They might work in various ways – some might deliver rural healthcare, some might focus on prenatal care, and some might work with alternative destination programs.
The sheer mass of possibilities of mobile integrated healthcare can make it more challenging to catch on as an idea.
This is closely related to why mobile integrated healthcare isn’t more popular. Each community defines it much differently. Let’s look at this a little closer.
Mobile Integrated Health Means Different Things to Different People
If someone says they are a surgeon, we know what that means. We might have to ask more questions to get more specifics about their specialty, but generally, a surgeon performs surgery.
However, if someone says they work in mobile integrated healthcare, this could mean vastly different things from one area to the next. Indeed, if you’re familiar with the idea of mobile integrated healthcare, you have a head start, but you would have to ask some questions to get specifics.
Mobile integrated healthcare is a large umbrella term for many pre-hospital and community-related disciplines. You could work with the homeless population. You might work with older adults, you might work with children – all this changes the meaning of the word.
Some communities might have a crisis response team but not call this mobile integrated healthcare. While various definitions are a natural part of any organization, there is a natural tendency for some terms to stick and others to fall away – not only that, but geography, history, and culture can all impact which terms are chosen.
In later sections, we’ll talk about the importance of names and how building standard definitions at a national level (and sometimes, even international level) can help spread the word in a more organized way.
Now, we’ll look at increasing and promoting people’s knowledge and understanding of MIH.
Ways to Boost Knowledge of Mobile Integrated Healthcare
Here are several ways to spread the word about Mobile-integrated healthcare:
- Give it time
- Talk about it when possible (Old-fashioned “spread the word”)
- Start to provide more specific branding
- Don’t work in a bubble (connect!)
Below, we’ll look at these things in more depth.
Give Mobile Integrated Healthcare Time
The first way to increase the knowledge about mobile integrated healthcare is simple: give it time.
Whenever something new is taking shape, no matter what it is, it goes through several stages. At first, many aren’t even aware, then there are skeptics, and then there’s a steady rise in acceptance. MIH is reducing health costs and providing new opportunities – there’s no reason it shouldn’t continue to rise in popularity.
At this point, from the perspective of this guide, mobile-integrated healthcare is at a phase of a steady rise in acceptance. Most people who know about mobile integrated healthcare see it’s making positive changes, and it’s only a matter of time before more people catch on.
Take Time to Explain Mobile Integrated Healthcare
For those who already operate some form of mobile integrated healthcare, it’s wise to take an extra moment to explain to patients exactly how the program works and what it’s all about.
We all know about “medical jargon.” Sometimes, there’s just no easy way to explain certain complex procedures (or insufficient time). However, in instances like mobile integrated healthcare, providers should go the extra mile to share with patients and partners what the program is all about.
This careful explanation will start the word-of-mouth snowball rolling and ensure accurate information about these programs is circulating. Further, taking the time to keep the patient respectfully informed builds trust.
Here’s an article on how to explain community paramedicine to community partners.
Now, let’s talk about another component of actively spreading the word about mobile-integrated health programs.
Start Creating More Specific Branding for MIH Teams
There is often a branding phase when someone wants to spread the word about something, be it a person, a company, or an idea. This branding serves a specific purpose – to get the word out quickly and effectively and in a way people remember.
It could be argued that, if mobile integrated healthcare deserves any advice, it would be that MIH has not put together unified definitions that can be easily explained to the public and implemented. Now, this isn’t necessarily the fault of health systems. As we admitted earlier, it’s pretty challenging to label mobile integrated healthcare, as it can be many different things.
We have seen that terms like Community Paramedicine, Crisis Response, and Post Overdose Response Teams (PORT) have caught on with more consistency. Why are these terms more popular? Well, it’s hard to say. But it’s likely because the terms are familiar and specific, and they say something about the programs.
Things may be changing as associations like the National Association of Mobile Integrated Healthcare Providers (NAMIHP) are educating the public on MIH programs and spearheading change to help solve the problem of fragmented healthcare.
The specifics of how mobile-integrated health should brand itself are, admittedly, beyond the scope of this article. Still, it’s fair to say that many likely scratch their head when the general public hears the term, mobile integrated healthcare.
Build Connections When Starting a Mobile Integrated Team
Setting aside branding, explaining, and initiatives – mobile health teams should provide excellent care and use the MIH model to the fullest potential.
The stronger the connections between various health institutions, the better the care for people and the higher the patient satisfaction with mobile integrated care.
Julota provides a software platform that allows mobile teams – such as crisis response and mobile-integrated healthcare – to connect with other community members. The platforms collect data, safely share information, and provide good documentation.
Last Take: How to Spread the Word About Mobile Integrated Healthcare
Mobile-integrated healthcare likely needs more time before it’s widely recognized. The main ways to increase knowledge of mobile integrated Healthcare are to continue spreading the word the old-fashioned way and to consider putting forth a name that people understand.
Finally, if health teams can continue making strong connections in the field, they will place the kindling for a roaring fire of integrated health care.
Contact Julota to learn more about how their cloud-based software can help your mobile-integrated health-community paramedic program grow and thrive.