The World Health Organization designated “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)” as the start of the global pandemic. It had been a little over 100 years since the Spanish flu – another massive spread had hit more than half of the world back in 1918. 
The roaming virus ultimately stormed a massive surge in almost every country. To slow down the spread, governments enforced the new norm of social distancing.  Entire cities and even countries were put in a full lockdown. Some went beyond and included the army as a street patrol to ensure all compliance with all anti-epidemic measures. 
Hospitals experienced shortage in staff, beds and equipment, as the incoming patient numbers boomed overnight.
How did the respiratory companies deal with these issues?
Before we dig deeper, let’s take a closer look at the ventilator equipment. There are two main types of ventilator devices, for home use, and for hospital use. The hospital equipment is divided into three categories – invasive, non-invasive and high-flow oxygen therapy. Certain models, such as the Hamilton G5, can be used for all three purposes.
This crisis revealed three main weak points in our healthcare system:
- Hospitals were not equipped with enough ventilators to treat severe cases
The immediate increase in demand showed us we first need to utilise what we already have. A study, conducted by the Lancaster University, showed that the usage of a CPAP device (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), primarily used for people with Sleep Apnea (study conducted through ResMed AirSense), could significantly lower the risk of death with the hospitalised patients with stay of 7 days or less. 
- The amount of time it takes to ramp-up production of ventilators to meet demands
When the ventilator shortage hit first, the Dutch Government asked Demcon to develop, produce and test a comprehensive ventilation system within one month. Without demur and with no delays, they supplied the Dutch Government with 500 fully certified ventilator units for hospital use. 
The production process of ventilators ramped up when global leaders in manufacturing joined forces. The partnerships between Vyaire Medical and Spirit AeroSystems back in May 2020 was just one example of how cross-industry collaborations can effectively overcome obstacles that otherwise look undefeatable. 
- The delays experienced throughout the supply chain
The lockdown had a serious impact on the global delivery system. Suddenly, all major shipping carriers were overwhelmed. Valuable and essential medical goods could not be delivered to consumers and patients on time. Companies like Drive-DeVilbiss Healthcare partnered with Amazon Business to supply ventilation products without delays. Amazon’s well-developed supply chain significantly reduced shipping times. 
Respiratory companies stepped up to help frontline workers fight the virus. Both respiratory leaders and manufacturers put massive efforts in ramping up production, whilst using their decades-long experience and R&D to develop a next generation of innovative and effective solutions, and ultimately help to save more lives.
- Megan L. Ranney, M.D., M.P.H., Valerie Griffeth, M.D., Ph.D., and Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H., Critical Supply Shortages — The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 Pandemic (The New England Journal of Medicine, 30/04/2020)
- History.com Editors, Pandemics That Changed History (History.com, 21/12/2020)
- Giada Zampano, Italy: Army to patrol streets to avoid curfew breaches (AA.com, 20/03/2020)
- Killian Meara, Existing Treatment Saves the Lives of Covid-19 Patients (Contagion Live, 02/12/2020)
- Vyaire Medical Inc., Vyaire Medical and Spirit AeroSystems Partner to Greatly Increase Ventilator Production in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic (PR Newswire, 04/04/2020)
- Demcon.com, DemcAir ventilation system. (Demcon.com, 22/03/2021)
- Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare partners with Amazon Business to supply ventilation products in response to
the COVID-19 pandemic (Drive Medical, 15/09/2020)
Make sure everyone in your organisation is committed to superb customer experience.
The e-guide how to make sure everyone in your organization is committed to great customer experience. Adapted for the healthcare industry based on our experience with the world’s leaders in imaging equipment and respiratory care.