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Mobile health screening initiatives: a narrative of three unique programs in underserved populations

Authors Daraei P, Moore C

Received 2 March 2015

Accepted for publication 23 April 2015

Published 17 July 2015 Volume 2015:2 Pages 41—47


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Rubin Pillay

Pedram Daraei,1 Charles E Moore1–3

1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Emory University, 2Grady Health System, 3HEALing Community Center, Atlanta, GA, USA

Background: Comprehensive screening mechanisms are critical and must be utilized in an appropriate fashion in populations with a presumed high prevalence of disease, requires low cost of screening, and available and effective treatment modalities. Alarmingly, racial and socioeconomic disparities in medical screening programs remain vast and ultimately contribute to poorer outcomes. Improving screening in areas of lower socioeconomic status extends a service to individuals who may have otherwise gone undiagnosed, in areas where disease is often diagnosed as late-stage disease, accompanied by comorbid conditions.
Methods: The authors coordinated and implemented three unique mobile health initiatives throughout underserved populations in metropolitan Atlanta. For each health initiative, a corresponding review of the English literature was performed using PubMed/MEDLINE. Special attention was paid to minority populations. Reference searches of the retrieved articles were performed manually to ensure that all available studies and data were reviewed.
Results: Mobile health screening was performed in three ways. The first focused on hypertension and asthma by screening individuals at a location commonly visited, ie, the grocery store. The second targeted obesity in underserved populations through a simple identification program that educated individuals on foods that are healthy and those that are not. This was performed in grocery stores, which we consider the “frontline” of nutrition-based decisions. Lastly, we developed an educational program targeting tobacco products, particularly e-cigarettes, which we implemented for adolescent populations through our metropolitan area.
Conclusion: Mobile screening is the first step in a facet of prevention that goes beyond traditional “in-office” screening. Targeting specific populations is of utmost importance, and engaging individuals at the community level can greatly improve the likelihood of success, particularly if the health care practitioners involved understand the cultural characteristics and customs of that population. Engaging health care practitioners in mobile screening represents a significant previously untapped resource that can increase screening throughput and greatly improve outcomes for patients who would otherwise go with an undiagnosed disease process.

Keywords: mobile, health screenings, underserved, obesity, tobacco, food insecurity, disparity, e-cigarettes

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