Modular Units a Solution for Corporate Medical Needs
June 1, 2020
As the country ramped up mass production across the economy during and after World War II, many companies added medical clinics to their manufacturing facilities in order to keep workers safe while also keeping them productive and cutting down on time spent away from the office for appointments.
Changes in the overall economy over several decades meant the downsizing of manufacturing and the discontinuation of on-site medical clinics for many companies. Fast-forward 60 years, and workplace clinics were revived as a way to keep rising medical costs down. By 2018, a survey completed by global health consulting firm Mercer found that a full one-third (33%) of U.S. employers with 5,000 or more employees offered general medical worksite clinics and 11% of those surveyed had plans to add them in the next year. The clinics focus on providing preventative care, addressing chronic conditions and providing services such as smoking cessation, weight loss counseling, blood pressure monitoring and more.
In the complexities of today’s global pandemic, it’s clear the need for corporate medical clinics is once again a critical operational consideration. As businesses continue to re-open across the country following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for pandemic response, the use of medical clinics can allow companies to monitor employee health and respond to requirements from the government and best practices from health care providers.
In order to quickly find on-site clinic solutions, companies are looking to modular construction, known for its expedited construction and flexible design plans. Modular medical clinics can be designed and built to accommodate a nurse’s office or a more expanded layout for multiple medical practitioners. And, rather than a waiting room, a space can be designed to feature an intake room to maintain the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. The flexibility and ease of design make modular construction responsive to the post-pandemic economy, even as disease information and recommendations continue to change.
As with any medical clinic, privacy is paramount; modular construction can address this with sound attenuation for each room in the structure. The clinics can also be fitted with the latest technology and connectivity since most medical records are online now and internet access is crucial.
While the structures themselves are usually very simple, details such as cabinetry, countertops and other surfaces can be selected to meet needed health care cleanability requirements while also matching a company’s budget or aesthetic preference. The outside finish options for a freestanding modular medical clinic can be matched to the company’s existing exterior finish, allowing it to seamlessly blend into the campus.
An additional benefit of modular clinics is the portability of the units themselves. If the location of a clinic needs to change or a company decides the need no longer exists for a medical clinic, the unit can be repurposed as additional office space or moved to another site. The cost for making a change or conversion is usually a fraction of what conventional construction would cost, and the overall flexibility of the units make them a worthwhile investment for those companies with a vested interest in employee health.
Once the pandemic is no longer a daily health threat, and even after a vaccine has been developed, the need for on-site work medical clinics will still exist. It seems likely that the future of medicine will continue to emphasize preventive care. A workplace clinic is a great first step in that quest.