ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic Health System will visit rural communities throughout southern Minnesota beginning later this summer thanks to a new mobile health clinic designed to make consultation with specialists accessible and convenient for outlying regions.

Patients in the mobile unit will be able to conduct virtual visits with clinicians from elsewhere across the health system, essentially driving tele-health technology directly into small towns and farm communities.

"Mayo Clinic Health System patients will have the peace of mind knowing that they are always connected to the world's leading medical experts,” said Jennifer Horn, M.D., regional chair of clinical practice, Southeast Minnesota Region, Mayo Clinic Health System in a statement. "Regardless of where you receive care, your health information will be readily available to Mayo's care teams."

The unit will offer care for acute illness and infection, immunizations, including COVID-19 vaccinations, preventive services, health care screenings, medication refills and checks, and virtual pacemaker checks, prenatal and specialty visits including pediatrics. The 38-foot long, fully outfitted bus contains two exam rooms, an onsite lab and pharmacy services.

The mobile unit is finished to resemble a busy floor in a regional care center, complete with waiting areas, a blood draw chair, two medical-grade vaccine freezers, satellite uplink to major centers in the health system and a restroom.

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"Our goal is to use digital technologies like virtual visits and innovative ideas like this mobile health clinic to make Mayo Clinic care more accessible to our patients, no matter where they live," Horn said. "We see this is as a necessary and welcome transformation in health care to continue meeting our patients’ needs."

Locations and dates of visit will be communicated to area patients.