b. How do we decide if we need a mobile or portable program?
Needs assessment is a critical aspect of planning any type of program. Consider
the following basic questions before you start any mobile or portable program.
The first six questions are addressed in this chapter; the rest will be answered
Basic Questions for Starting a Program
- What populations need our services and where are they located?
- What are their oral health needs?
- What mix of services will meet those needs?
- What are barriers that prevent them from accessing care in the current delivery system?
- If we can't provide services to meet all the needs, can we link them to a source that will cover the additional services?
- With what other community programs and support services can we collaborate?
- What providers and staff are needed?
- What laws, regulations and codes impact program design or implementation?
- What equipment will be the most cost-effective and meet the service needs?
- How can we most effectively market our services to the target populations?
- What financing and funding are available and what sources of income can be generated to develop the program and make it sustainable?
- Should we start small and develop our program in phases?
- What are reasonable strategies to evaluate our program's efficiency, effectiveness, quality of care and improvements in patients' oral health?
To answer these questions adequately, try to involve a variety of people from
your community as well as people who have successful mobile or portable programs.
For more information on how to conduct a needs assessment using community partners,
review the following resources: