Parkview innovators announce new designs of medical equipment in response to pandemic


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Representatives from the Parkview Health Mirro Center for Research and Innovation announced alternative designs for medical equipment in advance of possible shortages due to COVID-19.

For weeks now a team of innovators at Parkview’s Mirro Center have been working to develop new ways of producing protective equipment and ventilators that could help both healthcare workers and patients.

Some of the innovations include the conversion of a CPAP machine to work as a ventilator, the design of a personal air-purifying respirator, and the creation of masks. Innovators have also created a pressure based ventilator that could provide air to multiple people at once.

The simulation team from Parkview Mirro Center has utilized technological machinery, such as 3D printing to create new parts for these devices. The 3D printers have been used to create prototype masks, similar to the N95 masks that healthcare works are using on the front lines of the pandemic.

While these alternate designs for medical equipment are not currently in use locally, Dr. Michael J. Mirro said that they have to be working in preparation for shortages in the event there is a large peak in COVID-19 cases.

“You can’t keep an unlimited supply of everything and plan for every disaster. And all of the sudden this is an unprecedented disaster of gargantuan proportions. So how could we respond to everything? Well, we have to get very creative and have a backup plan,” said Dr. Michael J. Mirro, the Chief Academic Research Officer at Parkview Health.

The physical personal protective equipment is not the only innovation that is occurring at Parkview Mirro Center. Parkview’s clinical team is actively working on clinical trials that include the use of antibodies to treat COVID-19. Additionally, they are working with Purdue Fort Wayne to expand COVID-19 testing.

Innovators from Parkview’s Mirro Center have collaborated with other innovators across the country thanks to a partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital. The innovation that is taking place at Parkview Mirro Center has been supported by Trine University, MasterCraft, and local engineers.

Dr. Mirro said that while the new medical equipment solutions are not currently in use, they could have impacts globally.

“Actually many of the innovations are absolutely scale-able beyond Fort Wayne, Indiana. In fact that’s how, during crisis, not just a pandemic but the financial crisis that follows, creativity and innovation follows,” said Dr. Mirro.

Parkview Health said in a statement that the designs have not been tested or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but they said that these devices have the potential to protect and help people.

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