The Iridia Mobile Medical Unit – A Hospital On Wheels

Mobile Medical Unit (mmu)

This past January, Iridia was asked to provide a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) to one of our northern camps.  A Mobile Medical Unit is a hospital on wheels; it offers the mobility of an ambulance with the modern day amenities of a hospital. This was new territory for us – we had never undertaken a venture like this before, but the excitement of leading an innovative project like this spurred us act quickly.

The Iridia MMU had to be built and delivered by the middle of March in order to utilize a volatile ice bridge that typically collapses due to increased temperature in early April.  Luckily the Iridia team acted quickly and the winter weather held out longer than expected! – the MMU arrived on time with two weeks to spare!

The MMU was born out of the need for enhanced on-site medical treatment options for remote out and gas camps.  Some of the medical needs and logistical challenges in remote camps include:

  • Harsh working conditions commonly resulting in a variety of injuries and illnesses
  • Lacerations, eye foreign bodies, and low back strains often require the patient to undergo a trip of several hours so they can be seen by a doctor
  • During certain times of the year, evacuation of emergency and non-emergency cases can be impossible due to the weather conditions which then require the patient to remain in camp for extended periods of time

The Iridia MMU overcomes these challenges by providing camp staff with 24 hour access to a physician, ultimately making their day-to-day lives more comfortable and safer.  Alongside general medical care, the MMU will also enable physicians to deliver long-term health and wellness programs to camp staff.

The Iridia MMU is one of only two mobile hospitals in British Columbia.  The other MMU was built to support the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  The Iridia MMU features many of the amenities of a modern urgent care clinic.  

Mobile Medical Unit Features

Mobile Medical Unit (mmu)

The Iridia MMU will be deployed initially at one of the most remote oil and gas camps in BC for the next 2 years.  During this time, it will provide not only enhanced care for our patients but also a research opportunity to study how this care model can impact the health and wellness of this population.  


View more images of the Iridia MMU here

About Us

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Allan Holmes, Iridia Medical became an instant pioneer in the implementation of AEDs in British Columbian workplaces.  Our initial experiences in deploying AEDs expanded into medical education, consulting and paramedic services. We’re now one of Canada’s leading companies in the area of health and emergency preparedness and one of the fastest growing private companies in British Columbia.


AEDs From Coast to Coast

We Love AEDs

As you might already know, we love our Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at Iridia Medical.

In fact, our company was founded because of this passion for AEDs and their life-saving abilities.  In 1998, publicly-accessible AEDs and workplace AED programs did not exist – only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs. We challenged this practice and pioneered the first public-access AED program in British Columbia. As the foundation of our expanding company, we remain passionate about AEDs and continue to implement and support AED programs across Canada.

Since 1998, we have become a leading distributor of Cardiac Science and Physio-Control AEDs and have placed thousands across the country – 1,998 AEDs in 269 cities/towns/communities to be exact (as of September 19, 2013).

It can be difficult to visualize numbers and for this reason, we created our Iridia AED Placement map. Not only is this information better visualized but it also speaks to the level of importance that has been placed on AEDs and access to them. Even some of the smallest of towns are equipped with an AED in the event of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

1,998 AEDs Throughout Canada

View fullscreen

On this map, we’ve also included AEDs placed through the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s BC Public Access to Defibrillation Program. In this Program, initiated in February 2013, 450 AEDs over a period of three years will be donated to communities across the province. As the exclusive distributer for the Program, we are proud to have placed 100 AEDs across the province (as of September 18, 2013).

We will be updating this map with every AED we place and together we can raise Sudden Cardiac Arrest survival rates from coast to coast.


Influenza, All You Need to Know


It’s that time of the year again; the leaves are changing colour and our noses are runnier. We can’t do much about the leaves, but we can protect ourselves and others from Seasonal Influenza.

What Is Influenza?

Influenza refers to illnesses and symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, caused by a number of different influenza viruses. Typical symptoms are fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Annual outbreaks usually occur during the late fall through early spring.

How to Protect Yourself and Others?

The best prevention for influenza is getting vaccinated. An influenza vaccine not only provides protection for an individual, it also helps protect vulnerable populations that are at a higher risk of complications.

These “high risk” groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children 5 years of age and younger
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • People with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes

Receiving an influenza vaccine is particularly important if you work in a high-risk environment such as a hospital. As you can be infectious with the influenza virus for up to 24 hours before displaying symptoms, you could inadvertently spread influenza before you become sick with symptoms. The seasonal influenza vaccine is extremely safe for everyone, including pregnant women and children. Learn more about vaccination here. Other ways to help protect yourself and others from getting influenza include:

  • Staying home from work if you have influenza-like symptoms
  • Regularly washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer
  • Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue

What if I Get Sick?  

If you have influenza-like symptoms you should:

  • Stay home, drink clear fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid close contact with others

If you have significant influenza symptoms or are in one of the high risk groups (see above), you should see your health care provider, preferably within the first 48 hours, to see if you are eligible for antiviral medications. If you are taking care of someone at home who has influenza remember to protect yourself and others in the household.

What Is Pandemic Influenza Again?

Pandemic influenza refers to a novel influenza A virus for which there is little or no immunity in the human population. Because it is a novel virus, it takes approximately 6 months to develop an effective vaccine. A pandemic influenza virus can cause serious illness and spreads easily from person-to-person worldwide. The most recent example of a pandemic influenza was in 2009, caused by the novel H1N1 (swine) virus.

Google Flu Trends Outlook for British Columbia: Moderate


Google Flu TrendsGoogle Flu Trends is a very powerful tool that can predict the severity of the upcoming flu season with frightening accuracy. Using Flu Trends we can monitor flu activity in real-time, often ahead of reporting agencies. At this time Google Flu trends is reporting a flu activity to range from low to moderate throughout Canada. Explore Google Flu Trends

Further Information on the flu may be found here. 


Scanadu Scout – a Physical Exam in Your Pocket

Scanadu Scout

What is it?

The Scanadu Scout is an upcoming portable medical scanner inspired by the futuristic Tricorder you may remember from the Star Trek series (yes, this is true!). As an avid fan, I can only hope this device lives up to the Tricorder fabled Tricorder.

The scanner itself is designed for consumer use and will measure a variety of bodily functions then deliver the information right to your hands. Whether you are sick or well, the Scout can discover trends, spot side effects, catch problems early and track them.

A prototype was unveiled on Nov 29 2012 and was touted as being able to return five vital sign results with 99 percent accuracy in less than 10 seconds – not too bad for a device that fits in your palm. However, the device is not yet in stores. Scanadu says it hopes to make the Scout available by early 2015. It will be interesting to see what the Scout is capable of by then.


How does the Scanadu Scout Work?

You simply place the scanner on your forehead for 10 seconds and immediately the results are displayed on your smartphone via Bluetooth, and of course a companion app. The Scanadu Scout promises to give you access to valuable data which your body provides every day and will allow you to analyze, track, and trend your vitals with unprecedented simplicity.

The device creators mention the Scanadu Scout will detect medial problems early, decrease hospital readmissions and the cost of managing chronic conditions.

What does it Track?

This is the most important question and Scanadu delivers. The Scout is designed to measure a number of different physiological parameters:

Scanadu Scout

While it is still a little ways off, it’s not difficult to see the Scanadu Scount making its way into our offices (I bet Iridia staff would love to have one of these on hand!) and houses. If it delivers on its promises, we could all have access to information previously off-limits to the majority of us.