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Ford Donates Transit Connect for University of Kansas WellCar Program to Deliver Medical Care in Rural Areas
|By Business Wire
|June 16, 2014 01:26 PM EDT
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
“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.”
Transit Connect can be ordered without windows in the cargo area, which
can enhance security. The availability of different wheelbases means
more space and options for placement of equipment, and its smaller size
– relative to larger cargo vans – makes Transit Connect more discreet
when parked at a patient’s residence, which can enhance patient privacy.
Transit Connect has a best-in-class 30 mpg EPA-estimated highway mpg
fuel economy rating*, making it ideal for traveling long distances
between treating patients.
A functional prototype vehicle, which will serve as a proof of concept
and research tool to develop the WellCar program, is projected to be on
the road early in 2015.
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. Upfitting will be completed by Kranz Truck
Equipment in Kansas City, Mo.
“This is a great opportunity for students to work on a real-world
project,” said Thomas. “They will conceptualize it, plan it and then
figure out how to incorporate and design technologies into the WellCar.”
The University of Kansas intends to deploy as many as four WellCar
Transit Connect vans to serve western Kansas. The school has received
inquiries about extending the program to Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma
and Texas as well.
* Class is Small Cargo Vans. EPA-estimated rating of 22 mpg city/30 mpg
highway/25 mpg combined for Transit Connect van with the available 1.6L
EcoBoost® engine. Actual mileage will vary.
About Ford Motor Company
Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the
company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company
provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more
information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and
video, visit www.media.ford.com.
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