Since the start of this pandemic, the medical technology (medtech) industry has made significant contributions to the battle against COVID-19 in Canada, stepping up for Canadians in the fight against this global pandemic.
Medtech companies have drastically ramped up production, retooled their product lines and creatively utilized their devices to help both patients and those on the front lines. Additionally, there has been swift collaboration between governments, providers and medical technology companies in Canada to address the pressing needs of our health care system in light of COVID-19.
The sector has also made valuable contributions helping Canadians access much needed health care services – enabled by innovative digital health technologies – as a result of limited access to our health care system due to the pandemic.
Medtech Canada has been collecting these collaborative efforts and positive stories and we’re pleased to share them with Canadians at the “Medtech Canada COVID-19 Action Hub” website. Below are just a few examples from the Hub.
Ensuring Canada’s supply of personal protective equipment
Medtech Canada and our members have been working closely with Public Services and Procurement Canada, as well as provincial government agencies, to ensure that our country has ample supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep health care workers safe while providing care. A number of companies have undertaken significant measures on this front, including:
- Southmedic is a Barrie, Ontario-based medical device manufacturer that distributes to more than 80 countries around the world. The government of Ontario provided the company with $1.8 million to help the company reengineer and retool its current production and purchase new moulding equipment. With this new equipment, the company is doubling its output of oxygen masks, tripling its output of ETCO2 masks, which are specialty masks used to monitor breathing prior to ventilator use, and quadrupling its output of eye and face shields to help meet the province’s need for PPE.
- Stryker has the first system approved by Health Canada to sterilize N95 masks for reuse, allowing front line workers to use one mask up to three times. Hospitals across the country are receiving the Sterizone VP4 technology and will be able to sterilize almost 12 million masks per year, resulting in more than 36 million uses of masks.
Digital health solutions
During the pandemic, digital health tools ranging from virtual consultations to personal health information apps have transformed the delivery of care across Canada. The medtech industry has made valuable contributions in the area of digital health which have enabled patients to self-monitor/manage chronic disease, supported clinicians in clinical decision making and providing care in a virtual setting. Some examples include:
- m-Health Solutions (mHS) in Hamilton, Ontario has been providing virtual and mobile cardiac diagnostics and monitoring since 2010. With COVID-19, m-Health Solutions quickly pivoted to meet the needs of doctors/clinics/hospitals and patients. As holter departments in hospitals across Ontario closed, mHS established an on-line portal so that doctors virtually seeing patients from their homes could quickly and securely refer patients and receive reports back.
- Although the stethoscope is an essential tool to diagnose and monitor patients, it brings HCPs within 28 inches of patients, putting them at serious risk of infection, even when using of personal protective equipment (PPE). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AusculSciences developed the Auscul-X, a multi-sensor, remote, disposable stethoscope which allows clinicians to monitor patients heart and lung sounds from outside the patient’s room with acoustic fidelity equivalent to an electronic stethoscope.
Collaboration to meet the needs of Canadian healthcare
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been a number of examples of companies quickly collaborating to meet the needs of patients and the Canadian health care system. Some examples include:
- Roche Diagnostics manufactures a dual swab kit that works with COVID-19 tests. Due to concerns about sterility once the dual swab kit was opened, testing facilities were required to use only one portion of the two-swab kit per person, discarding the unused swab. Canadian Hospital Specialties (CHS), a medical device manufacturer and distributor in Oakville, had the capacity to repurpose and separate the Roche Diagnostics kits quickly and the two companies worked together in collaboration with Ontario Health to increase the critical swab inventory available in Ontario.
- Ventilators for Canadians (V4C), a consortium of Canadian entrepreneurs, has partnered with Baylis Medical, a Canadian-based medical device company specializing in cardiology and spine, to manufacture ventilators for hospitals across Canada. The Baylis V4C–560 ventilator is based on Medtronic’s Puritan Bennett™ 560 ventilator design, for which the intellectual property was made publicly available by the company. Medtronic has also provided Baylis with engineering support and assisted with licensing of the Baylis V4C-560 ventilator in Canada.
Please visit the “Medtech Canada COVID-19 Action Hub” to learn more about these and many other examples of the medical technology industry’s contributions in Canada to the fight against COVID-19 at: www.medtechinnovation.ca.