June 16, 2014

Ford donates Transit Connect for University of Kansas WellCar Program

Ford Motor Company has donated a Transit Connect to the University of Kansas for one year to be the school's first WellCar that will bring medical care to the doors of rural patients.

The need for WellCar service is acute. People in rural areas may travel for hours
to seek a doctor or health care facility. For those who are not ambulatory and depend on others, travel adds anxiety to their illness. The WellCar Transit Connect could lower the incidence of 'bounce back' patients, who return to the hospital due to complications from an earlier procedure.

"We are pleased to work with the University of Kansas," said Minyang Jiang, Ford Brand Manager for Transit Connect, Transit and E-series. "Transit Connect is a proven compact van that offers a unique combination of efficiency, cargo capacity and maneuverability, making it a great fit for the WellCar program."

The WellCar Transit Connect will serve as a medical office on wheels, allowing a nurse practitioner to travel to as many as six patients a day, carry necessary medical equipment and communicate information wirelessly for treatment.

Transit Connect has the ideal features the school was looking for in a vehicle.

"Unlike current medical vehicles, whose capabilities are generally dedicated to simple tasks such as immunizations and health awareness programs, the WellCar model will enable nurse practitioners to provide a broad array of comprehensive, prevention-based patient care services," said Gregory Thomas, Design Professor and Director, University of Kansas Center for Design Research, which is part of the KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning. "That is how this concept goes so much further for patient care, and is what makes it unique."

The WellCar Transit Connect will be equipped with several medical devices. The van will be set up to transfer medical data securely through its own Wi-Fi hotspot to a medical center for immediate evaluation. A nurse practitioner can then administer treatment, including prescribed medications, if needed.

Students in the university's advanced industrial design and engineering studio will create the specifications for the installation of medical equipment, then integrate the equipment and connectivity into the WellCar Transit Connect.


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