iFixit wants to make fixing medical devices easier during COVID-19 pandemic

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med device
Repairing medical devices is a lot more confusing than fixing iPhones.
Photo: iFixit

iFixit, the second-largest Apple parts supplier after Apple, is launching a new section on its website today dedicated to fixing medical equipment.

The growing COVID-19 pandemic is already beginning to strain hospitals and the supply of breathing ventilators that are crucial to fighting acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19. With ventilators running 24/7, keeping them repaired and running will be a colossal task, so iFixit has taken it upon itself to create a central database of how-to resources on maintaining medical equipment. And they need your help.

iFixit founder Kyle Wiens explained in a blog post today that the closest thing to a central resource for repairing medical equipment is a website called Frank’s Hospital Workshop. Unfortunately, Frank’s site is a one-person operation. If it gets overwhelmed by traffic the entire world would lose access to critical information.

“We’re going to change that. Our Biomed technicians’ time is too precious to waste on internet Easter-egg hunts,” said Wiens. “iFixit is building a central resource for maintenance and repair of hospital equipment. We need help from fixers everywhere, medical professionals, and biomedical technicians to make sure this is as robust, relevant, and useful as possible.”

How you can help

Because medical device makers don’t always make their service manuals easy to access, pooling them all in one place isn’t going to be easy. iFixit is asking anyone in the medical field with access to service manuals to ventilators and BiPap machines to upload them to their website.

If you have experience working with these types of machines, iFixit needs model numbers of all of the ventilators in use. They’re also asking for input on what parts or pieces of ventilators break, or might break, during an increased duty cycle.

Even if you don’t have medical tech knowledge you can help out by organizing and building out device pages for common medical equipment. iFixit also needs help reformatting service manuals to be more SEO-friendly and easier for non-engineers to follow. Translating all of the new how-tos will also be a huge task that will be pivotal towards helping everyone around the globe.

To upload documents or service manuals, visit iFixit’s document creation page and get the process rolling.