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Open source medical equipment repair database for Covid-19

Open source medical equipment repair database for Covid-19

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty



Teardown and repair specialist iFixit is creating a database of repair manuals for medical equipment to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak around the world and is encouraging manufacturers to help.

Hospitals are having trouble getting service information to fix medical equipment, and that is being made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’ve heard countless stories from biomedical technicians about how medical device manufacturers make their jobs more difficult by restricting access to repair information,” said Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit.

“Thanks to travel limitations, the problem is bigger than ever. Manufacturer service reps can’t keep pace with the growing demand for repair of critical hospital equipment. Even if they could, they can’t respond as quickly as the biomeds, already at the front lines,” he said.

“We welcome manufacturers to join us and contribute toward an up-to-date central repository for the biomedical community,” he said. The database is hosted free of charge on the iFixit site.

Over the last two months, half the staff at iFixit have been working on building the world’s most comprehensive medical equipment service database. It’s a central, multi-manufacturer library of user manuals and repair documentation for thousands of devices. This week the company posted more than 13,000 manuals from hundreds of manufacturers, online and available for use immediately. Some of the documents were not publicly posted until now.

“This has been an absolutely massive undertaking—and we were fortunate to have the help and support of over 200 librarians and archivists from across the country,” said Wien. “Archivists from university and public libraries, research institutes, insurance and software companies, and of course biomeds themselves all donated their valuable time.”

The project started out crowdsourcing repair information for hospital equipment, especially ventilator documentation, anesthesia systems and respiratory analyzers that are widely used to support Covid-19 patients. The list of products has grown dramatically exponentially as the documents from biomeds and community members came in.

“We have built a single, robust, comprehensive treasure trove of repair information for thousands of medical devices. To be very clear: iFixit does not make money on this project. We are providing hosting and curation free of charge, and free of advertising, to the medical community,” he said.

“We also welcome biomeds around the world to join iFixit’s repair community. No technician is an island, and we hope to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and troubleshooting. Our wiki organization system and collaborative Q&A forum will make sure that this information gets more useful over time. This medical repository is most useful if it is collaboratively moderated by biomeds, with our assistance.” 

www.ifixit.com

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