Repair resource company iFixit has launched an effort to crowdsource repair information for key medical devices. | egyjanek/Shutterstock

Usually busy helping people fix their consumer gadgets, iFixit has turned its attention to the emerging need to maintain and repair hospital equipment.

The California-based electronics repair resources company launched an effort to crowdsource repair information for ventilators, which are key pieces of equipment used to help COVID-19 patients breathe, and other medical devices.

“We are learning from China and Italy that these crucial ventilators are being heavily utilized – many ventilators are running non-stop,” Kyle Wiens, the founder and CEO of iFixit, wrote in a blog post. “There’s even precedent for hospitals short on ventilators using hose splitters to share a machine between patients, as in the 2017 Vegas shooting. Due to heavy use and accelerated wear and tear, these lifesaving machines are breaking down.”

Finding that there’s no single source for comprehensive repair information for ventilators of different makes, iFixit has launched an online resource for repair information. It is asking medical device repair experts to contribute their knowledge and information. The company also wants help collecting, reformatting and translating service manuals.

“Our doctors, nurses, and medical professionals are going to be working around the clock to save lives. It’s very hard, difficult work, and they need to keep their tools and equipment operational,” Wiens wrote. “Let’s give them a hand!”

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