In response to the extreme challenges to clinical capacity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, three New Jersey institutions – New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), University Hospital in Newark and The Tuchman Foundation – are collaborating in a unique partnership on the development of modular, mobile medical care facilities to be deployed to areas of surging disease outbreaks and other disasters, as well as to regions that lack health care infrastructure.
The modules, constructed in Woodbridge, N.J., are fabricated from 40-foot-long repurposed shipping containers. They have been tested this week for their effectiveness as triage centers in a series of staged patient-care simulations conducted by medical personnel at University Hospital.
The units include customizable internal environments that can be configured for various medical applications, including clinical point-of-care services and the testing and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases. They are easily transportable for rapid deployment and can be staged horizontally to create larger clinical field operations sites with effective patient separation and management.
“This pandemic has challenged emergency healthcare systems and patient management capacity globally. But it has also emphasized the critical importance of distributed health care facilities in resource-constrained environments in both urban and rural areas,” said Atam Dhawan, senior vice provost for research at NJIT. “The mobile medical care units we are designing can be reconfigured and adapted to deliver a variety of medical needs to augment facilities at hospitals and nursing homes. They can also function independently in communities lacking these facilities.”
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