Mobilizing medicine: a design response to the accessibility and cost issues in health care
Nationally, there is increasing concern over the accessibility, cost, and quality of the American health care system. While the quality of the care given is generally out of the control of designers, it has received increased attention in recent years, as is evidenced in the trends of healing gardens, private patient rooms, and improved social settings. As beneficial as these trends are to the patients they serve, they often have a negative effect on overall accessibility and cost of care due to the constant construction and renovations needed and their largely urban presence. While quality health care is very important and should not suffer as a result, how can designers address nonenvironmental sustainability issues of cost and access in the American healthcare system? Due to the trend in increasing cases of chronic illness, as opposed to more pathogenic ailments of the past, the necessity for all healthcare settings to be highly controlled and sterile environments should be reevaluated. While less popular and not as fully developed as the typical facilities most Americans are familiar with, an increase in mobilized health care units could be a solution to the lack of economic and social access and sustainability in the current healthcare model while still providing safe, quality care. By examining current instances of mobile clinics, I will explore the design requirements necessary to make mobile clinics accessible and cost effective. In addition, I will look for facilitators and barriers to these systems, such as improvements in mobile communication technologies and lack of stakeholder support.