The health system’s medical and engineering staffs had to devise their own solutions for lab gear, PPE and operating room air decontamination.As COVID-19 settles into several regions of the U.S., healthcare systems that once sat on the sidelines likely will find themselves in the same situation as their counterparts in the Northeast did earlier this year.
While this may serve as little comfort, hospitals in regions getting hit by the new wave of the deadly virus do have the benefit of seeing how hospitals in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast managed the pandemic.
One of the easiest — or at least most evident — lessons available is the use of additive manufacturing or 3D printing. Mayo Clinic and other hospital systems, including Beth Israel Lahey in Boston, used their 3D printers to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and face shields, as well as swabs used with COVID-19 diagnostic tests. But hospitals looking to secure vital PPE need to be aware that Mayo’s success came as much from an organizational commitment to innovation as from an acquisition of 3D printers.
During a DeviceTalks Tuesday presentation in May, a team from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. — three engineers and a physician — spoke about the institution’s success in overcoming supply shortages during the first dark days of the pandemic in March and April. While COVID-19 never hit Minnesota as hard as it did the Northeast, Mayo engineers, physicians and other hospital staff worked in overdrive to ensure Mayo healthcare providers had the necessary tools to treat sick patients.
And you can watch the DeviceTalks Tuesdays presentation with these Mayo Clinic experts here.