Spectrum Health Innovations Works With Area Entrepreneurs To Design Breathing Alternatives for COVID-19 patients


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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 5, 2020 Spectrum Health Innovations, Rapids Venture and Ghost House Technology have joined forces to produce an alternative breathing support device in just 10 days.

Designed by Ghost House Technology, the Emergency Ventilator Kit is not a replacement for traditional ventilators, but a precisely-engineered device that attaches to various CPAP machines already in a hospital’s inventory, to provide emergency breathing relief for patients.

By combining an airtight scuba face mask with a medical grade filtration system, the kit reduces the risk of the patient’s exhalation spreading the virus through the atmosphere—helping to protect front line health care professionals.

“Our goal was to provide healthcare workers a safer alternative to administer non-invasive breathing support without exposing themselves to the potential risk of a patient’s exhalation aerosolizing the virus,” said David Stout, CEO of Ghost House Technology.

Rapids Venture coordinated resources necessary to iterate, test and refine the design while setting up production capable of assembling several hundred units per week.

“We immediately recognized the great value of what a low-cost breathing support alternative could provide to overwhelmed hospital systems, but only if we could create it with easy to find materials and with an easy to assemble design,” said James Meeks, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Rapids Venture. “We also understood that to pull off a design build while racing against the clock of peak-COVID, we needed to pull in our region’s community of innovators, manufacturers, engineers and healthcare professionals to make it happen.” 

Spectrum Health Innovations engineers were searching for new approaches and solutions that can assist Spectrum Health system and other hospitals across the nation during this critical time. They were able to provide clinical validation by working alongside pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and nurses as well as material guidance and sourcing recommendations.

“Our team had been actively searching for breathing support back-up solutions in the event our system’s needs outstripped our reserve of mechanical ventilators,” said Aaron Schaap, Innovation Lead, Spectrum Health Innovations. “Our engineers recognized the potential of the initial design and immediatelyjumped into action, alongside our community partners, to bring this concept to fruition in less than two weeks.”

In addition to comprehensive feedback on the design of the device, Spectrum Health Innovations helped facilitate key elements of the local supply chain to limit the risk of production delays. Given the decreased forecast of COVID hospitalizations in the West Michigan area, Spectrum Health Innovations is seeking to share their experiences and discoveries with hospital systems that are currently experiencing peak-COVID.

Rapids Venture has coordinated local production for the Emergency Ventilator Kit with partners that specialize in assembly and manufacturing. In the event of any capacity constraints, Ghost House Technology has open sourced the design and Rapids Venture is willing to coach any certified manufacturer how to produce the kit in quantity for their local hospital systems at no cost.

“We are all eager to provide our national healthcare workers any support we can; they are the frontline in this fight. If we can help support them to help save just one life, all efforts will have been worth it,” said Meeks.