Covid-19 drives healthcare supply chain collaboration with Ricardo
The surge of UK and international orders for advanced patient monitoring systems in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic has led Oxfordshire-based Isansys Lifecare to team up with Ricardo to scale up its supply chain and production as quickly as possible.
Isansys has developed the Patient Status Engine (PSE) monitoring system that uses digital and wireless sensors to enable near-ICU grade monitoring and advanced analytics of patient data. This uses wearable sensors including the Lifetouch “smart patch” cardiac sensor and the Lifetemp continuous temperature sensor to automatically collect and analyse the patients’ heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, oxygen saturation levels and blood pressure in real-time. If a patient’s health starts to deteriorate, the system will provide a warning to nursing staff so they can act on it immediately.
The PSE platform is extremely flexible, enabling care to be provided outside the hospital walls with real-time, continuous data and predictive alerts from patients at home or in community care facilities. The system is fully certified to CE Class IIa in Europe and FDA Class II in the US and has been deployed in multiple major hospitals globally since 2014. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen demand increase at an unprecedented level.
“We are seeing a surge in orders for our Patient Status Engine (PSE) product as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Keith Errey, CEO of Isansys Lifecare. “Hospitals are seeking to deploy the PSE to rapidly increase capacity and numbers of higher dependency beds and isolation wards in order to monitor ventilated patients and to use it to provide high-grade monitoring of patients at home or other locations outside the hospital itself. Our collaboration with partners Ricardo will help us to scale up quickly, making us confident that we can meet the current demand, and also form plans to further increase our own production capacity.”
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To help scale up to meet the immediate demand for the PSE, as well as planning for future expansion, Isansys is now working with Ricardo to explore the optimization of its manufacturing processes, including considerations of design for manufacture and assembly and supply chain development and management. Ricardo’s manufacturing and strategic consultants have extensive experience in processes from design for manufacture and assembly through to supply chain development. Alongside its automotive system business, Ricardo also manufactures precision parts for a range of other industries, including aerospace and defence.
The first stage of the collaboration Isansys and Ricardo has focused on a full review of the existing production process for the PSE. Ricardo’s manufacturing specialists have reviewed the details of current operations, identifying how bottlenecks can be addressed and the processes of assembly and end of line testing can be made more efficient. The next stage – now underway – is to focus on the implementation of measures identified, with the aim of improving efficiency and reducing assembly time. This work includes an examination of the supply chain, investigating for example the alternative or additional external sourcing of pre-assembled components.
Beyond the current collaboration, Isansys and Ricardo are also planning to explore possible longer-term improvements, including an evaluation of the design for assembly of the current product, as well as wider issues of supply chain development and management.
“Ricardo is pleased to be working with Isansys on scaling up the PSE which could have a transformative positive impact upon patient monitoring both during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Simon Arbuthnot, regional director of Ricardo Strategic Consulting. “Helping to optimize manufacturing operations and supply chains across many different domains is a core area of expertise for Ricardo. It is gratifying to bring these skills to the assistance of Isansys, whose products have the potential to benefit the healthcare of patients worldwide.”