Marshfield Clinic’s newest mobile unit brings primary
health care to the job site, offering workers a chance to get needed care
without leaving their office parking lots.
The new unit, which also includes digital mammography, is the first in the Clinic's fleet of three units to offer primary care services, including access to a Clinic nurse practitioner. The third unit – a custom-built truck and trailer combination – was made possible thanks to the support of many donors, including Associated Bank's $250,000 donation.
The Clinic will unveil the new unit during an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 1 at the Laird Center for Medical Research, Marshfield Clinic Marshfield Center, 1000 N. Oak Ave. Tours of the new unit will be available before and after a presentation scheduled from 12:15-12:45 p.m. in the Laird Center's Erdman Lobby.
"The Clinic's commitment to provide primary care to patients sometimes requires we take health care to them," said Dr. Eric Penniman, Clinic division medical director for primary care. "People are busier than ever, and we realize stepping away from work for an appointment is easier said than done. We want to make it as easy as possible for our patients to see a health care provider."
Since 2007, the Clinic's mobile units have provided digital mammography services to thousands of Wisconsin patients, including many employees of central, western and northern Wisconsin businesses that rely on the service for onsite screening.
This new unit will expand those mammography services, allowing Clinic staff to ultimately reach more than 10,000 patients. Also included in this unit are a patient room, waiting room and lab station to support primary care services.
Businesses can schedule to have the unit at their workplaces, which makes it easy for employees to see a provider, while reducing the time they're away from work.
For instance, Clinic providers can assess workplace injuries, treat sore throats and perform annual exams in the unit. Lab services, such as blood draws, are performed in the unit and then sent to a nearby Clinic lab.
"We're essentially offering everything a patient would get from primary care at a Marshfield Clinic center, without the fuss of leaving work," Penniman said. "Our full electronic medical records are integrated into the unit, so we can access every patient's important health information regardless of location. That leads to more comprehensive care."
The unit offers technicians access to 4G wireless networks, which allows for faster image and information transfers to health care providers at Clinic centers. That, in turn, gets results to patients faster than before.
"This technology is the exact same as you would find at any Clinic center. What's so important is that we're able to bring that technology to the patient – that includes people in rural and underserved communities who may have no other way to access these screenings," said Gene Santilli, director of Marshfield Clinic system radiology.
Last year, the mobile mammography units screened more than 5,000 people, and the service has continued to gain popularity among patients who otherwise would have to endure long drives for a mammogram. Primary care services will bolster an already successful mobile program.
"Mobile mammography has been very well received by patients," said Myron Gadke, mobile services manager. "Many patients we see wouldn't have access close to home to mammograms or bone density screenings. These screenings are the first line of defense against breast cancer, and we hope the addition of primary care will help us reach more patients."
The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.