By Judy Packer-Tursman

Several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan subsidiaries of Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC) are leveraging what they acknowledge may be considered an “old-fashioned” outreach strategy — mobile care vans — in their efforts to help address the worst resurgence of measles in more than a quarter century in the U.S.

As of May 20, HCSC’s 26 care vans this year had nearly 127,000 patient visits and provided 66,188 immunizations and 90,503 other health services, HCSC spokesperson Jori Fine tells AIS Health.

Year-to-date, the Texas Blues plan has provided 328 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines, and the Oklahoma Blues plan has provided 272 MMR shots via the care van program, Fine says.

The mobile outreach program’s increase in MMR vaccinations following the U.S. measles outbreak is “a great example of how we’re able to respond to emerging health threats by removing barriers like transportation and affordability to bring health education and services directly to the people who need it most,” says Derek Robinson, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

The bottom line, according to Joe Paduda, principal with Health Strategy Associates, LLC, is health care organizations can only go so far with technology. “Reaching out to patients is critical, especially for those that are difficult to reach,” he says. “While technology, AI [artificial intelligence], big data, and all the rest is certainly useful, it comes down to people serving people.”