The Bakken Oil Boom has changed a multitude of things in North Dakota like traffic, housing, and now, it's evolving medicine.
For this week's Eye on Health, Bonnie Campo visits the Sanford Health Clinic in Minot to see how healthcare workers are bringing mobile medical sites to those in the oil field.
The new Sanford mobile clinics travel to and from work sites all around the Bakken, and their logic for doing it is simply.
(Joel Blanchard, MD Sanford Health) "We have the capability of doing x-rays. We have the capabilities of doing some lab work. We have two exam rooms. The exam rooms are on either side of the unit. We can do hearing test. We can do lung function test, and we can do drug-testing as well."
Sanford says oilfield employees have an industry-wide 80 percent injury rate. Sanford hopes by bringing a clinic closer to those needing medical attention, they can get workers back on their feet faster. It is not an emergency room, but they are offering many services.
(Joel Blanchard, MD Sanford Health) "The companies asked us to provide services near to their work site in the Bakken oilfield, and this is our response to that. We are going to provide occupational medical services to various sites as need in the Bakken oilfield, and at the same time we will provide oil company based urgent care for their employees."
They will also have a live monitor to communicate with doctors back at the hospital. By moving these mobile clinics to what are considered by most, rural areas, Sanford thinks it will also alleviate pressures on smaller hospitals. Sanford sees the two trucks as an investment in their and North Dakota's future.
(Joel Blanchard, MD Sanford Health) "We don't have people locally. We are trying to find employees locally, but we have to on occasion fly them in from Bismarck to get to the site, so it's definitely more expensive. Our goal is to kind help the companies. We are going to be establishing some other fixed clinics in Watford City, and another one in the Bakken oilfield area."
Each truck will have three staff members who can treat 2 patients at a time. Both 10 wheelers are estimated to be worth around $1.5 million each. One will be based in Minot and traveling west, the other in Watford City, heading south. In Minot, Bonnie Campo KX News.
Sanford believes they are the first in this area to apply mobile medicine, and says if all goes well they will consider expanding their investment.