The Wright Center's new “Driving Better Health” mobile unit.

The Wright Center’s new “Driving Better Health” mobile unit.

At The Wright Center, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver comprehensive primary health care to as many Northeast Pennsylvania residents as possible.

In recent years, that quest has led us to regularly opening new primary care locations throughout all corners of the region. Now, though, for the first time ever, we are going mobile.

I am proud to introduce our new “Driving Better Health” mobile unit — indeed, a full medical clinic on wheels. With this breakthrough, we will better fulfill our goal of bringing high-quality primary care directly into communities, in the process easing the burden of patients who might otherwise have difficulty accessing that care due to transportation issues or otherwise. We are literally meeting people where they are — you might call it the 21st century version of the family doctor house calls of yesteryear.

The 34-foot-long, custom-built, state-of-the-art mobile unit is now crisscrossing the region. With its eye-catching exterior, the van is extremely easy to spot. Of course, the truly impressive part is the interior, which is equipped with all of the elements of a proper medical clinic. This includes two examination areas — which also function as dual dental operatories — as well as a dedicated staff of health care professionals.

To start, we will be using the mobile unit as a COVID-19 mobile response unit, given the significant threat that the virus continues to pose to the region. Among other places, it is spending a substantial amount of time in Hazleton, one of the regional epicenters of the pandemic. There, the mobile unit’s staff will provide COVID-19 testing, education and outreach to patients from all age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. This is just one of many ways we are doing our part to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Eventually, Driving Better Health will be used as a true satellite primary care and dental clinic on wheels that will be deployed to neighborhoods and strategic areas throughout our seven-county coverage area. Patients will be able to access it for check-ups, vaccinations and even dental care; special chairs have been installed for exactly that purpose. And, at some point — hopefully in the not-so-distant future — we will use the unit to deploy COVID-19 vaccinations. That will be a happy day, for certain.

As you can see, we have big plans for the Driving Better Health mobile unit. We are very proud of this innovation, yet remain cognizant of the fact that it’s but one of many more to come as we continue to break down the barriers preventing NEPA residents from accessing the exceptional health care they deserve.

Jignesh Y. Sheth, M.D., a primary care physician dually board-certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine, leads The Wright Center for Community Health as Chief Medical Officer and serves as Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. He sees patients at the Wright Center’s Jermyn practice and lives with his family in Clarks Summit. Send your medical questions to news@thewrightcenter.org.

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