Winnebago Industries has built mobile offices for doctors and dentists and the company’s vice president for strategic planning and specialty vehicles expects mobile units will continue to evolve because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is probably going to be more sensitivity among customers in the mobile medical space for environments that are sterile, that can be easily cleaned and disinfected, that have been air systems and air circulation,” says Winnebago’s Ashis Bhattacharya.
He says the need for mobile medical vehicles will grow in the coming years as more clinics and hospitals close and so-called “medical deserts” develop across the country. Winnebago’s RVs can also make expensive medical equipment mobile. Bhattacharya says the company has designed a vehicle to transport a CT scan machine that weighed two-and-a-half tons.
“We were able to find a way to put that machine on the shell; have it balanced properly; have it leveled; have the right kind of power, temperature, humidity, air conditioning, power back-up,” he says, “and that’s being used for things like early lung cancer screenings.”
A converted Winnebago View now serves as a mobile medical unit at a family health clinic in Kansas City. It is being used as the region’s first COVID-19 drive-thru testing site. A hospital-based in Hartford, Connecticut is using a converted 40-foot Winnebago as a mobile testing site.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force is partnering with the RV Industry Association to produce and deliver 20 more of these sorts of units and Winnebago is part of that effort. Some of Winnebago’s mobile medical units are equipped for blood drives and to serve as a hub for outreach to opioid addicts.
(By AJ Taylor, KIOW, Forest City)