Last week, Fitbit announced what they’re calling the Fitbit Flow, a low-cost emergency ventilator that will be available in the United States and around the world for COVID-19 patients when there are shortages of traditional ventilators.
Current estimates show that the number of ventilators in the United States range from 60,000 to 160,000, far below the 2M confirmed cases.
Seeing an opportunity to help respond to the urgent need both now and into the future, Fitbit Flow has quickly been granted Emergency Use Authorisation by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use on people in need.
Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park says that the experience the company has with sensor development and a global supply chain made the task of producing a fit for purpose, cheaply priced ventilator a wise decision.
“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for ventilators and help make a difference in the global fight against this virus”, Park said.
Specifically designed to be easy to use, it’s also hoped that the Fitbit Flow will help reduce the strain on highly specialized who are typically required to operate a commercial ventilator.
Fitbit Flow builds on standard resuscitator bags, like those used by paramedics, with sophisticated instruments, sensors, and alarms that work together to support automated compressions and patient monitoring.
During development and testing, Fitbit consulted with Oregon Health & Science University emergency medicine clinicians caring for COVID-19 patients at OHSU Hospital and worked with several other working groups on the design to meet the needs of practitioners.