HHS Funds Ventilators For Public Health Emergencies

Richard Pizzi | Government Health IT | September 23, 2014

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed its intentions to fund the development of portable ventilators that could be used in public health emergencies.  The new ventilator will be developed under a three year, $13.8 million contract with Philips Respironics of Murrysville, Pennsylvania. The project will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

According to HHS, the innovative ventilator in development will leverage advanced technology to reduce the size and cost and will be designed in a way that doctors, nurses and other health professionals can operate without special training. The next-generation ventilator also will be designed to be manufactured quickly to meet a surge in the number of patients who need ventilators if more ventilators are needed than could be stockpiled.

In a severe influenza pandemic and potentially in other public health emergencies, a large number of severely ill patients would require mechanical ventilation. This number could overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system to provide such care, both in the number of ventilators available and staff trained to operate them. Under the HHS contract, the ventilator will be required to meet the needs of everyone from infants to the elderly...