By Kyle Wiens
If BMET forums are any indication, finding manuals is a regular challenge. 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.
What if there was a central resource that was up to date with all the latest manuals that BMETs need? For the last two months, iFixit has been building just that—a medical equipment service database. It’s a multi-manufacturer library of user manuals and repair documentation for thousands of devices. 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.
I like to tell my team that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Frank is one of those giants, and he has provided a tremendous service to medical professionals. Keeping a central resource up to date with all the latest technology is a lot of work—more than any one of us can manage, even a tech as prolific as Frank. But what if each of us put in a little time here and there, planting and tending to a community garden of information?
At the core of iFixit is a global community of fixers. Our site is designed to help people fix more stuff. We’re all here to be helpful. So ask a question. Upload a manual. Every page is a wiki, which means that anyone can edit it to make it better. See a mistake? Just hit “edit” and fix it! Our team of technicians and volunteer biomeds are reviewing edits to maintain quality, so you don’t have to worry about it being perfect. Let’s just focus on helping each other get better at fixing equipment.
If you’ve got a repair problem, the iFixit community is here to lend a hand. We organized our medical database with main categories for Clinical, Laboratory, Furniture, Imaging, Surgical, Test Equipment, Physical Therapy, and various other support equipment. Each category is searchable quickly.
Pro tip: You can use the “/” key on any page to use our fast navigator, search for the page you need, and hit enter to get there quickly. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to find the information you need quickly. That way, you can get back to your important work.
Built into each device page is a Q&A forum where you can ask questions of the community. In other technical professions, mechanics and software engineers have thriving online forums where they exchange knowledge to help each other out. My dream is that iFixit can do the same for the HTM community. If we can break out of our silos and start sharing more, we’ll all get better. All of us know how to fix some things, but no one knows how to fix everything. Together, we are better than any of us alone.
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. We welcome manufacturers to join us and contribute toward an up-to-date central repository for the biomedical 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 will be most useful if it’s collaboratively moderated by biomeds, with our assistance.
As with all of the repair guides on iFixit.com, we welcome community contributions. If you have repair information that isn’t in our collection yet, please share it with us.
Kyle Wiens is CEO of iFixit. Questions and comments can be directed to 24×7 Magazine chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at email@example.com.