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COVID 19 Engineering through the Pandemic
10/08/2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were a professional development engineering group working within Mayo Clinic developing novel devices to treat patients and advance medical research. Even when the pandemic began, we thought it would be business as usual, except that some of us would be working remotely. We were wrong.
We had issues we had never experienced before: supply chain shortages, new types of personal protective equipment for front line and laboratory staff, and devices to support new types of diagnostics or therapies. Soon we will have Mayo Clinic developed PAPR hoods and blowers that we can distribute to our staff. Our team made over 20,000 face shields when our supply chain failed. We also had requests and ideas being submitted from staff, from external organizations, and even from friends and families. Deciding what to do and what not to do turned out to be one of the first and biggest challenges.
In addition to the devices being developed and tested, we quickly realized that we need to bring an aerosol science perspective to the work we were doing. This expertise was leveraged in evaluating new and novel devices for protecting our staff and patients. It had its most significant impact in reducing the room turnover times between patients in operating and procedure rooms. In Rochester and the Midwest, we have now certified the performance of over 600 operating and procedure rooms with an average improvement of 40%, having a significant impact on patient volume.
Mark Wehde Chair of the Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering