By Keri Forsythe-Stephens
What will life be like post-pandemic? It’s something I’ve pondered many times and, admittedly, Googled on more than one occasion (usually in the middle of the night when I’m bingeing on COVID-19 news). The truth? No one really knows, but a lot of people like to make educated guesses.
Something we do know, however, is that the pandemic has highlighted weak spots—especially in the healthcare sector—and areas that need to change. One person who is looking to change things up in the healthcare technology management sector is Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit.
In mid-May, Wiens launched a medical equipment service database—something, he says, the HTM field desperately needs. “If BMET forums are any indication, finding manuals is a regular challenge,” Wiens tells 24×7 Magazine exclusively. “Frank’s Hospital Workshop has been a stalwart online resource for biomeds, but Frank is just one guy—it’s hard for him to keep up when so many new medical devices are released every year.”
Wiens’ vision, which is coming to fruition: An online repository of up-to-date service manuals, including numerous ones for ventilators. It’s a need that the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated, Wiens concedes.
“For the last two months, iFixit has been building … a multi-manufacturer library of user manuals and repair documentation for thousands of devices,” he says. “We just posted more than 13,000 manuals from hundreds of manufacturers, online and available for use immediately. The best part? It’s free for anyone to use. You can find them in our new medical device category,” available here.
Medical devices are segmented into clinical equipment, laboratory equipment, imaging equipment, test equipment, and various other support devices. “And each category is searchable quickly,” Wiens maintains.
Each device page also features a Q&A forum, where HTM professionals can ask questions and share tips. “In other technical professions, mechanics and software engineers have thriving online forums where they exchange knowledge to help each other out,” Wiens says. “My dream is that iFixit can do the same for the HTM community.” After all, he says, “if we can break out of our silos and start sharing more, we’ll all get better.”
It’s an intriguing thought—and something I wanted to know about more. So, I went straight to the source and interviewed Wiens on camera. I also wanted to know more about the safety aspects of his database and what he wants to tell OEMs.
It’s eye-opening, and something I encourage you to watch yourselves. Check out the video here.
Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7 Magazine. Questions and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.