Our Medical Repair Database is Going Strong—but Still Needs Help

Since we announced our project to compile repair guides for hospital ventilators last week, we’ve seen an incredible response. News outlets and community members are helping us spread the word. Repair manuals are pouring in, we’ve got an army of volunteers organizing them on our site and offering translations. We couldn’t do this without all of you. But we still need your help to get this resource into shape. 

As the COVID-19 situation develops over the coming weeks, biomedical techs are going to be working increasing hours on ever-more-strained machines. We don’t want these techs wasting valuable time looking for repair documentation—they need a central, easy-to-find resource. With your help, techs can focus on getting the machines fixed and back to keeping people alive.

So far you’ve helped us identify 173 different ventilators as prime targets—from Philips ventilators like the Respironics V60 to Siemens-Maquet’s popular Servo-i—and together we’ve found manuals for 143 of them. That’s 83% coverage in just days. That is awe-inspiring!

We have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, but there’s still work to do. In this next phase we need to ingest and organize this veritable mountain of manuals (and find the last of them). The next step will be identifying critical repairs and preventative maintenance procedures and carving the relevant documentation into easy-to-read guides. When that’s done, our global community can start translating these guides so biomeds everywhere can read them. Head over to our Meta post for an update and to see what you can do today.

Motherboard in a vital sign machine

In an exciting turn, we’ve also seen a massive number of people volunteering to manufacture parts for these devices—both through 3D printing and traditional methods. We don’t know what parts we’ll need to manufacture (do you? Let us know!) but we’re looking into hosting 3D models for the most in-demand parts. We love to see this community come together and would love to facilitate as much as we can!

The Next Frontier

Once we’ve finished amassing ventilator manuals, we’ll move on to other essential devices used in hospitals. We’ll be going through thousands of manuals, and we’ll need your help. So don’t change that dial!

What you can do now

  • Help us find the remaining service manuals—especially missing manuals for widely-used models like the PB980
  • Help fill out the device pages for each ventilator.
  • If you work with these machines, let us know what tends to fail so we can focus on those repairs and translate them into additional languages.
  • Tell your neighborhood biomedical engineer that this resource is available.

We all know these are uncertain times, and there’s certainly hardship to come. But there’s a lot of comfort to be found in the ways our communities are coming together. We’re so grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project. We’re going to keep up the fight—feel free to join us as much as you can! And, as always, stay home, stay healthy, and wash your hands.