3 Ways Hospitals Can Use Shipping Containers

What are some of the ways hospitals can use shipping containers?

At the time of this writing, we are still in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, also known as COVID-19. While some areas have closed and reopened, there are still areas that are under lockdown.

We’ve looked at how many of our business industries have been impacted and what a potential aftermath could look like after COVID-19.

V-shaped economy recovery

One of those industries deeply impacted is healthcare.

The state of Utah recently announced that the use of their ICU beds have increased, with 62% of their ICU beds being used for patients with COVID-19.

Other states have seen increased cases over the last few weeks, with more people being hospitalized and more beds being used.

As hospital and bed capacity rise, concerns about treatment – not just for COVID-19 patients, but others as well – ask the question of what will happen if we run out of space?

In this article, we look at 3 ways hospitals can use shipping containers to help expand or provide care for patients and why shipping containers can be beneficial in this situation.

3 Ways Hospitals Can Use Shipping Containers


1. ICU Bed Expansion

As mentioned above, increasing cases of COVID-19 infections are beginning to fill ICU beds. This doesn’t even cover patients in the ICU for non-virus ailments.

And with a focus on those suffering from COVID-19, patients who are suffering from other ailments may need to be redirected to other hospitals, sometimes further from their local areas.

Or patients may find it difficult to see their doctor due to smaller medical offices being closed.

Since the outbreak, many companies have begun to work on helping hospitals expand their capacity with shipping container ICU units.

For instance, several colleges including Texas A&M are building and delivering customized shipping containers to help their local hospitals.

BUILD COVID clinic on truck

Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments or CURA began opening their ICU units for those patients suffering from COVID-19.

Using shipping containers, hospitals can either expand their ICU beds for COVID-19 patients or expand their entire ICU ward for non-virus infect patients.

Hospitals can also set up a separate ward for just those suffering from the virus, keeping individuals quarantined but receiving care.


2. Testing Labs

Some of the issue with the growing cases of the virus are due to not having enough tests and facilities to test in.

The demand for tests has outweighed the supply and even then, tests may not be as thorough as health professionals would like.

The availability of testing facilities is also a problem, especially for those who may not live in an area that provides it.

Medical Testing Facility

Shipping containers are extremely moveable and portable, meaning a testing site can travel to the places where it’s needed.

As with the ICU units, labs can be customized to suit any type of testing needed, whether it’s just one lab or two.

These testing labs can also be attached to a mobile hospital, allowing for those who might test positive to be move to the adjacent medical facility.


3. Physical Hospitals/Medical Clinics

We mentioned earlier that shipping containers have long been used for other building alternatives, such as hospitals.

In fact, many non-profit organizations have used shipping containers as mobile hospitals for rural areas that are not able to access healthcare or during natural disasters that have devastated medical facilities.

Standard sizes of shipping containers are usually 20-feet and 40-feet, but these containers can also be modified and customized.

Clinic in a Can exam room

Containers are extremely durable, so they are able to withstand harsh weather and their ISO steel materials mean that surfaces can be sterilized and sanitized.

This makes them ideal for areas that are prone to natural disasters, like earthquakes, and because they’re portable, they can be moved into locations that don’t have easy access to hospitals.

But container hospitals aren’t limited to just rural areas; larger hospitals can use them as well, as smaller extensions to their own facility.

For instance, a major hospital can use shipping containers as additional exam rooms, testing labs, or extra rooms for non-threatening treatments or inpatient stays.

Inside Clinic in a Can

In this article, we looked at 3 ways hospitals can use shipping containers in their industry.

As we continue to navigate our current situation, businesses and industries are looking for ways that can make life a little easier for citizens.

Shipping containers have grown past their original purpose, giving people unique advantages for using them.

If you’re interested in an emergency mobile office or mobile test labs, give us a call at 800.686.9114. Our shipping container experts can help explore options for your project.