Getting the right medical equipment to the people who need it has a heightened importance in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Golden Valley-based Medical Alley Association, a trade group for the state’s health care and medical companies, saw an opportunity to help connect groups with supplies or services to organizations that needed either or both.
About a week ago, Medical Alley launched the Covid-19 Resource Connect on its website. Companies or organizations can fill out a simple questionnaire indicating if they need products or services or if they can provide or manufacture products or services.
“We thought we could move very quickly to start to identify needs and get people directly connected,” said Shaye Mandle, Medical Alley’s president and CEO.
“One of the great examples is we were able to reach out to Boston Scientific and they were able to pull eight ventilators out of their testing lab,” said Mandle. “They worked with Fairview on decontaminating them and getting them over to Fairview.”
Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific, which has a large presence in Minnesota, does not sell or make ventilators itself.
Medical Alley has more than 600 members from large global companies like Medtronic and 3M to small startups. Medtronic has ramped up its production of ventilators and also posted its design specifications for anyone to use to make ventilators. 3M has ramped up its production of face masks and respirators.
“3M and Medtronic are two of the most critical companies in the world right now,” said Mandle.
As of Thursday morning, 336 surveys had been completed. Submissions have come from across the U.S., but also from countries such as Norway and Australia. So far, 41 forms have identified needs while 295 forms included offers of products or services.
Mandle notes that many submissions have come from “a lot of companies that aren’t even our members.”
Mandle added, “I think the response has been overwhelming.”