The healthcare industry is experiencing rapid change. Modern medicine has made significant breakthroughs in the past 40 years, and these discoveries are only increasing in pace. New technologies, approaches, and methodologies are reshaping the care industry. Modular healthcare buildings are a part of this transformation. In the 1980s and 1990s, hospitals built with concrete and steel were the standard for healthcare facilities. They were big and impersonal, they served one purpose — to heal patients — and they did it very well. Today’s healthcare institutions are completely different from their predecessors. We can no longer simply assume that because something is old it is wrong or that because it is new it is better or worse than its predecessor. The future lies in adaptability, customization, and flexibility. These characteristics of modular medical facilities make them ideal for our modern age of patient-centered care.

What Are Modular Healthcare Buildings?

A modular healthcare facility is a building that can be shaped and configured to fit the specific requirements of a patient’s condition and the needs of the patient’s caregivers. These buildings are meant to be independent, mobile, and scalable. They are designed to be efficient, flexible, and built to last. They are meant to be able to grow with the patients and their families as their needs change over time. They are meant to be easy to maintain and easy to use.

What Makes Them Different?

In order to fully appreciate the difference between a non-modular building and a modular healthcare building, one must first understand the differences between non- and modular building. A non-modular building is one that is built around a single footprint. This footprint is meant to support all the building’s structural elements, utilities, and parking and it is built to scale. These types of buildings have been around for decades and have generally proved to be very cost-effective. They are also durable, reliable, and easy to maintain. They are often classified as “as-built” or “completed” buildings. 

A modular building, on the other hand, is designed to grow with the facility, following a process known as “modularization.” It starts with a basic footprint that contains all the essential elements and modules that will later be added to the building to form the complete building. The basic footprint is almost always a box, some 20 feet long and 10 feet wide — known as the “box” — and it is often referred to as the “start box.” The “start box” may later be modified to include additional elements and functions, such as an office tower, a health facility, or a hotel. The additions are known as “modules.” The modules are usually connected to the “start box” by way of a “footprint-connecting module.” The footings for the modules are often concealed or “steepened.” This increases the stiffness of the building, making it less likely to deform, while at the same time making it easier to build and less expensive to maintain.

The Future of Healthcare Is Here

We now know that modular medical facilities are the future of healthcare. Why, you ask? Simply put, there are many benefits to modular medical facilities that make them the future of healthcare. Construction and management savings first and foremost, cost savings are the reason that modular buildings are becoming more common in healthcare facilities. New construction has higher costs and management of large facilities has proven to be very challenging. Modern construction techniques, along with the availability of more efficient materials, have made construction and management cheaper in many cases. With lower costs comes savings that are passed on to the patients in the form of reduced prices on medical services, faster reimbursement rates for providers, and greater affordability for the facility. 


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