Health Watch: Ventilator app

There are 160,000 ventilators in the United States. During this crisis, many have been deployed to the centers where the need has been greatest. Now scientists at the Cleveland Clinic have introduced a program that is helping providers on the front lines learn how to operate an unfamiliar system quickly.

By the time many COVID-19 patients arrive at an emergency room, they may be in critical condition.

Robert Chatburn MHHS, RRT-NPS, FAARC, Professor of Medicine at Lerner College of Medicine and Enterprise Program Manager of Respiratory Care Research at Cleveland Clinic explained to Ivanhoe, "The usage of mechanical ventilators has increased exponentially in a very short period of time. And therefore, the people who must use the ventilators and understand how to operate them have to come up to speed very quickly."

"There are 38 different manufacturers and 400 and something models. They each have proprietary settings," noted Jay Alberts, PhD, neuroscientist, and bioengineer at Cleveland Clinic.

Alberts says, think of the ventilator like a car. D means drive in every make or model, but other operations vary widely. Alberts says three years ago his bioengineering students began working on a cell phone app to help providers understand how to use different types of ventilators. The project was shelved because there was no pressing need until now.

"We updated it, revived it, and turned it really from a student project to a full-fledged development project. And that took really about a week for us to turn it around," recalled Alberts.

Users can tap on a model of ventilator they are familiar with, and then tap on a picture of their new model to get information on how to find settings and program it.

Alberts explained, "It's a very easy application that really just tries to connect two dots."

Saving time on the hospital front lines- and saving lives.

Jay Alberts says the Ventilator Mode Map App is live right now at the Cleveland Clinic and is available to other caregivers across the U.S. It's free to download and is available on the iTunes store and Android.

Contributors: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.