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Kyruus Blog

Pinkwashing Patient Access for Change

By now you may have noticed the array of pink ribbons that seem to surround you – from the strategic placement on the label of the products we frequently purchase to the window displays that decorate our local storefronts. Even NFL players are peppering the gridiron with pink gloves and cleats.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Some may think that donning a pink ribbon is an idle way of showing support - resulting in little proactive movement toward finding a cure for this potentially devastating disease. However, a movement as large as this sparks societal discussions and forms the basis for life-changing ideas. Evidence of this comes from an inspiring program in West Virginia.

We live in a country where healthcare, and access to it, can vary tremendously. West Virginia, a state with a large rural population, faces difficulty when it comes to providing adequate state-of-the-art healthcare to those not near the state’s metropolitan areas. Those seeking quality medical care may have to travel over three hours to be granted a single appointment with the right type of provider. Even worse, approximately 15 percent of West Virginia residents lack health insurance – with a large portion of that percentage living in the already disadvantageous rural locations. [1]

With two major barriers in front of them, affected women face immense challenges to accessing an affordable provider for their recommended annual mammogram. West Virginia’s solution is Bonnie’s Bus – a mobile mammography unit that travels across the state year-round, offering breast cancer screening in a comfortable and convenient environment. Since its establishment in 2009, Bonnie’s Bus has provided more than 6,364 screening mammograms to West Virginia women. [2]

In addition to the digital mammography machine onboard, the vehicle is equipped with a patient-education area, restroom and waiting area. Women whose mammograms suggest a need for further diagnosis and treatment will be guided to doctors in their home communities. If needed, patients can even be linked to state-of-the-art clinical trials. In fact, the Bus is connected to a network of hospitals and clinics in West Virginia that will make it easier for women who live far from hospitals or an academic medical center to gain access to investigational drug trials.

The Bus has also eliminated any concerns over insurance coverage. It serves women who have private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare, and uninsured women who are participants in the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP). With funding from grants and donations, mammograms are provided for women without coverage, so that no woman over the age of 40 is ever turned away.

The bus, as you may guess, is painted pink to promote its cause. While on the road, the streak of pink it leaves behind symbolizes how a cause-marketing phenomenon can evolve into a life-changing innovative idea.

Real-life solutions such as Bonnie’s Bus are worth highlighting because they showcase the impact that creative and out-of-the-box ideas can have in healthcare. At Kyruus, we believe that having the right care at the place and time most convenient to the patient is the best approach to improving access. Bonnie’s Bus is actively and tangibly providing better patient access through its program. More importantly, as a result of its service it is saving lives.

Sources:

[1] - http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-population/?state=WV#map

[2] - http://wvucancer.org/bonnie

Topics: Patient Access