The Mobilization of Health
Since Ian Smith founded the company, Medical Coaches in 1949, sending a fleet of multi-phasic health exam coaches to sugar field workers in Cuba, mobile medical units have been delivering treatment to many who would never have received it otherwise. Technological and medical advances have allowed the development of mobile versions of everything from diagnostic clinics to bloodwork labs, and even imaging services like x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs.
Who Uses a Mobile MRI?
The goal of the growing mobile MRI industry is the same as that of every mobile health unit: to bring quality health care to those who need it. But instead of Cuban sugar fields, mobile MRIs are usually destined for hospital parking lots. These recipients are typically smaller healthcare facilities whose patient volume may not justify the costs of installing and maintaining a fixed MRI unit. These facilities may belong to a group of providers who share the mobile unit on rotation, an evolving trend in the market. They may be renting the unit in order to test the feasibility of adding a permanent MRI to their facility, attempting to understand their potential usage patterns, cost structures, and personnel requirements, or they may find a stationed mobile unit the more cost-effective choice. Whatever the case, mobile MRIs allow patients to receive tests and diagnoses that their local care provider would not have been otherwise able to give.
How Does a Mobile MRI Differ?
A mobile MRI is nearly technologically identical to its fixed counterpart. Its design is adapted for installation in a large tractor-trailer, which operates as a fully-functional scanning room, complete with the necessary workstations, monitors, and magnetic shielding. The MRI’s design is also adapted for the potentially harsh climates its trailer may encounter; mobile units are equipped with air-conditioning, heating, and humidification controls, allowing operation even when temperatures outside drop below -20F or above 100F. The cost structures of mobile and fixed MRI units differ, as well. Much of the cost of a fixed MRI accompanies its installation and setup, costs that are virtually eliminated in the purchase or rental of a readymade mobile unit.
Should I Go Mobile?
If you are considering an MRI unit, whether fixed or mobile, KMG can help you make the best choice for your situation. We are committed to enhancing both the health of your patients, and the strength of your bottom line. Contact us today; we’d love to start a conversation.