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Mobile Medicine: Shipping Container Benefits and Medical Applications

Mobile Medicine: Shipping Container Benefits and Medical Applications

Access to health care has always been an important issue around the world. Whether it’s trying to provide medical care to remote areas or respond to a sudden influx of patients at once when a natural disaster or other emergency strikes, it can be a challenge to overcome limited resources and access.

While there are only so many brick-and-mortar hospitals and treatment centers available, sometimes it’s necessary to find creative ways to provide critical care when and where it’s needed. One trend that has emerged in the past few years – and even more recently with the COVID-19 pandemic – is converting shipping containers into “pop-up” medical treatment or storage facilities.

Besides being extremely durable and cost-effective, shipping containers are versatile and can be used in a variety of applications – not just for transportation. One of those important applications is being converted into mobile clinics or hospitals in remote areas during health crises and disaster relief.

This blog will review the benefits of using shipping containers as mobile medical clinics and summarize three key applications where shipping containers can be utilized.

Benefits of Using Mobile Clinics Made from Shipping Containers

  • Mobile shipping containers are pre-designed and pre-built. Instead of waiting months for a new traditional facility to be built, shipping container clinics can be set up in just a couple of days.

  • The shipping containers can be custom designed with add-ons such as electrical fixtures, insulated walls, shelving, storage, plumbing, lighting, and flooring. Accessories can also be added to improve the functionality and security.The same shipping container can be reused and restructured to suit different needs over a varied range of medical services, too.

  • Made from Corten steel, shipping containers are durable and can withstand severe conditions, making them both safe and reliable.

  • Shipping container clinics have important protection against extreme weather conditions, fire, temperature variations, and wear and tear from handling and shipment.

  • Thanks to their portability, these mobile medical centers that contain all the equipment and instruments required can be transported easily and quickly at low costs. They can be used for storage, shipment, and medical care.

Disaster relief

  • To keep up with the growing severity of natural disasters, hospitals and clinics in disaster-prone areas like Florida and Louisiana (hurricanes) or Tornado Alley (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska) have sought to find solutions to getting medical aid to those in need during natural disasters. 
  • With roadblocks and rural areas with no nearby hospitals, many civilians are left with no options for medical treatment and don’t know where to turn in the event of a natural disaster. These small shipping container clinics solve that problem because they are housed inside portable shipping containers and provide disaster relief to those in need.
  • The mobility of these makeshift clinics allows medical services to reach areas that otherwise have no medical resources. Doctors, nurses, and volunteers can pack up the medical equipment and transport the clinic wherever there is a need. The self-contained clinics can be installed anywhere with very short lead times.
  • Because the clinics are made from steel shipping containers, they are durable enough to withstand extreme weather and keep all of the equipment dry and undamaged in harsh weather conditions or security risks.

Portable military hospitals

The military often spends its time working in remote locations, like the desert, jungle, or other areas, miles away from the nearest medical facilities. In an environment where risk is elevated and potential injuries aren’t uncommon, having at least a place to triage is important.

Shipping containers with built-in electrical and plumbing, stainless steel fittings for hygiene, modified shipping containers are an excellent way to get a fully equipped, prefabricated medical facility into the field fast. From a medical clinic for “outpatient treatments” to a facility to perform surgeries, shipping containers can be invaluable.

Mobile dental care

Mobile dentistry is an emerging trend. Especially in poor or rural communities, access to dental care can be limited. That’s also true for the elderly, home-bound individuals, or the physically disabled. It may be difficult or impossible to travel long distances to an office to get cleanings or regular dental check-ups. Some medical health care systems are looking to change that by bringing dental care to these patients.

While using a dental van is one popular solution, other medical centers use shipping containers as a more cost-effective solution. A modified shipping container can be easily transformed into mobile dental clinics. With an experienced contractor, these containers can be customized. Adding accessories like doors, lights, and windows can quickly transform the shipping container into a legitimate dental clinic.

Interested in converting a shipping container into a mobile medical facility? Click here to begin the process of choosing a shipping container near you.