Australia Combating COVID-19 with $2.4 Billion Pop-Up Clinic Plan: Suggesting an Efficient Rollout Strategy

Australia will install up to 100 pop-up healthcare clinics nationwide to combat the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday.

The $2.4 billion federal government plan will cater to up to 75 patients per day over an initial period of six months through a program of services including subsidised video consultations and a targeted public health campaign.

This response plan to fight the virus that has the world up in arms aims to lift pressure off emergency departments and local clinics by treating patients with mild symptoms who do not require severe treatment. A $30 million national awareness media campaign is set to launch within days, targeting groups most at risk of contracting the virus.

According to Health Minister Roger Cook, West Australians should expect a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases over the next day or two as results are surfacing from tests done at COVID-19 clinics. Of the 860 people who have been tested to date, only about 20 have received their results.

Cook explained that resources need to be rationed and advised people who are not displaying flu-like symptoms to refrain from getting themselves tested, even if they had travelled abroad. The surge in companies sending their employees who had recently returned from overseas trips to get tested for safety measures are placing clinics under immense pressure, disabling them to give the intense required care to patients who have been diagnosed with the virus.

How efficient is Australia’s response plan to COVID-19?

Pop-up fever screening clinics are a clever way for the government to tackle COVID19 and take charge of the current situation.

According to the Prime Minister, Australia’s medical experts are prepared for an emergency plan such as this, but an efficient rollout plan in strategic locations using modular, easy to set up/take down fixtures that also adhere to global health standards will be a difficult task that not everyone can deliver on. Successfully achieving the desired results of this multi-billion-dollar plan will take a unique skill set and level of expertise.  It will likely be a collaboration project in order to ensure that safety guidelines are followed and in place both from a clinical but also commercial perspective.

For example, Innova’s expertise in clinical design (adherence to government health guidelines, strategic location planning, ergonomic practices and patient-centric designs) as well as their capability in activations, local manufacturing and national rollouts, has enabled the company to assist their existing clients by either adding temporary clinics to their current locations or setting up pop up clinics in colocations with infrastructure facilities.

Strategizing a national pop-up clinic rollout

Strategic location planning and adherence to health guidelines will be critical in this project. As time is not on the government’s side in this case, it will be important for them to partner with agencies that have expertise in health expertise and national rollouts with a focus on sustainability and modular designs.

In recent times, we have been working on designs for modular medical activations with the overall goal of facilitating healthcare access to Australians. Offering a more efficient healthcare model will succeed in reaching more people (quicker/more often), identifying issues earlier and making informed referrals to ultimately increase the number of people receiving meaningful medical care while diverting traffic from hospitals and local clinics.

Modular Clinic Design is priority

At the centre of the success of these clinics is modular design.

In emergency scenarios, quick setup and breakdown is absolutely vital, achieved through modular and sustainable design solutions. Local manufacturing capabilities will maximise efficiency in this national rollout. Further to this, to ensure the funds invested in this temporary clinic program are worthwhile for Australia’s economy and quality of healthcare services, any newly manufactured structures need to be designed to be reused in the future.

In regard to health & safety, modularity can allow us to compartmentalize easily and efficiently.  This would greatly reduce risk and exposure on all ends, for example, for the treatment or screening of COVID-19 by having separate modules there would be a reduced need to shut down the practice if the clinic was exposed to a positive testing patient.  There would also be reduced risk for clinical staff & other patients, by having specific modules that cater to best-in-class guidelines on COVID-19 containment.  A modular design allows us to quickly respond to these requirements and adapt them as new information arises.

The Lab, the Tullamarine-based manufacturing plant Innova works with to deliver global quality results through a cost-saving, time-efficient strategy.

For example in 2019, Greater Health (innova’s partner company) partnered with ANZ Bank to roll out its first ever portable pop-up branch. The unit was designed to be installed in the record time of one day and can easily be packed up and relocated. The modular design created by X-Factor enables ANZ to enter new markets and be used across a variety of scenarios, including extreme weather conditions as well as crisis control for example in the case of fires or floods.

The innovation showcased in the design and installation of the ANZ pop-up changes the way banks can reach and engage with their customers, and the same level of intelligence can be implemented in the healthcare sector to improve medical care and pandemic control across Australia.

With the coronavirus officially named a pandemic by the World Health Organisation this week, this nature of design, manufacture and project management in Australia’s healthcare landscape is priority to halt the spread of the virus. An affordable, modular and flexible fixture system will enable a fast, simplified and streamlined rollout strategy program across the proposed temporary clinic network.

Innova Design specialises in the design and delivery of top-quality healthcare environments and is experienced in large-scale projects and national rollouts. Powered by an expert team of in-house architects, interior designers, health planners and project managers, Innova has successfully completed over 200 projects in the medical construction industry in locations across Australia.