Internal Innovation for COVID-19

Internal Innovation for COVID-19

It may come as no surprise that as the world put their heads together to find innovative solutions to worldwide PPE shortages and transmission issues, our internal inventor base too brainstormed several lifesaving technologies for COVID-19. From new mask prototypes to solutions for safer public transit, Cleveland Clinic caregivers submitted COVID-19-related Invention Disclosure Forms (IDFs) to our office with the intent to rapidly and scalably provide protection to caregivers, patients, and community members. Read below descriptions of select submissions finding adoption within the healthcare community.

High-Line IV Tubing Organizer 

Innovation need not always be new technology. Sometimes the ingenuity lies in one’s ability to repurpose good solutions for an even better cause. Such is the case with the High-Line IV Tubing Organizer (High-Line™). The High-Line™, as submitted by Jane Hartman, RN, and Nancy Albert, RN, PhD, is a small ring device to contain IV tubing by suspending it from an IV pole. The ring device is hung from a pole that has a retractable cord attached to "twill" tape, with appendages that Velcro™ the IV tubing to the ring – bringing it off the floor but not restricting movement. Though originally intended to allow more natural movement for pediatric patients, prototypes of the device have been leveraged during COVID-19 to run tubing along the walls and ceilings, allowing for IV control outside patient rooms and conservation of PPE for providers. The High-Line™ has a provisional patent and trademark filed and is now being used in multiple Cleveland Clinic locations with an ongoing clinical trial. To read more about the High-Line™ project, click here

Adaptable Aerosol Barrier Bag

The CDC, WHO, and many international guidelines agree that the highest rate of transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare providers is through Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs). Many institutions have tested “Aerosol Boxes” to protect clinicians by surrounding patients with a transparent plastic cube. This cube design, however, restricted the hand movement of the procedure-practicing clinicians. To remedy this issue, Sergio Bustamante, MD of Cleveland Clinic, invented an Adaptable Aerosol Barrier Bag that creates a "cavity" to surround the head, neck, and upper chest of a patient and provide the same level of protection to caregivers during AGMPs. The bag has an open end that closes around the body of the patient and various apertures for multiple operators, devices, and port valve systems used in endoscopic procedures (i.e., Flexible bronchoscopy). The bag’s flexible material mitigates the issue of obstruction. A provisional patent has been filed for this design, prototypes have been produced in conjunction with Parker Hannifin, and the bags are stocked in COVID-19 operating rooms across the enterprise. An application for Emergency Use Authorization has been filed with the FDA. To read more about the Adaptable Aerosol Barrier Bag project, click here

Passenger Protection Shield 

The passenger protection shield, as submitted by Kendall Bolyard, a caregiver in our Transportation and Fleet Services department, consists of two parts – a metal bar and a plastic cover. The bar, shaped to fit over the sides of seats in a vehicle, is bolted to the metal support brackets of the seats, and a clear plastic bag is pulled over the framework, creating a 16”-high protection shield. The shield increases passenger confidence creating clear, disposable barriers between passengers while not interfering with passenger legroom or restricting airflow from the ceiling, floor, or sides. The barrier is non-restrictive for emergency access, simplifies sanitation and maintenance, is less expensive than other options coming to market, is simple to install, and easy to remove. The shield, while simple in design, is remedying an underappreciated issue seen in public transportation during COVID-19. A provisional patent has been filed for the technology.

Emergency Mechanical Ventilator, Multiplexed Ventilator Diverter Valve, & Closed-System Draining Mechanical Ventilator Expiratory Filter

Amid ventilator shortages and uncertain ventilator sharing measures, caregivers like Rob Chatburn and Neil Chaisson, MD, sought to design homemade emergency ventilators that are inexpensive, easy to use, and rapidly deployable. The CLEVent EV-1 ventilator costs less than $500 to make, operates in volume control mode with built-in safety features, and has the ability to be manufactured quickly as need arises. The emergency ventilator was designed to function on regular nursing floors, utilizing compressed air and oxygen available in standard patient rooms. A CLEVent EV-1 prototype has been developed, and simulation testing w/ ASL-5000 was completed for functional limits.

To safely share existing ventilator resources, other caregivers worked on valves to allow a controlled split of airflow between two patients. Such is the case with Marc Petre, PhD, Umur Hatipoglu, MD, and Rob Chatburn. The group’s Multiplexed Ventilator Diverter Valve evenly distributes flow between two outlets without increasing resistance to the ventilator. A final design of the valve has been 3D-printed out of medical grade-material by Parker Hannifin and has been 100% leak tested. Currently, Cleveland Clinic has the valve in stock for use, and the solution has been submitted for an FDA Emergency Use Authorization, should they become necessary. To read more about the Multiplexed Ventilator Diverter Valve project, click here.

Current expiratory filters for standard ventilators need to be changed every 24 hours due to water build-up. To remedy the issue of wasteful ventilation practice, inventors Brad Boling and William Rogers submitted their idea for the extension of the useful life of a breathing circuit filter. Their device is a nipple adapter to attach drain tubing with a clamp that remains closed when not draining. With the nipple adapter, when a ventilator is not in use, suction will be turned on, and the clamp is released to allow for closed system drainage of excess condensation. This practice extends the life of a filter, allowing for more conservative use of precious ventilator resources. The adapter’s hook up to suction also creates a closed system to reduce aerosolizing infectious particles into the room – mitigating exposure risk and increasing caregiver safety. Prototypes of the device were built and tested with the help of Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Device Solutions (MDS) group.

The rapid development of thoughtful, effective products in a time of crisis showcases the innovative drive held by all Cleveland Clinic caregivers. As these brilliant minds drum up more solutions to COVID-19-related challenges, we’ll continue to support their work toward answers. Interested in learning more, or working with our team on the development of any of the above solutions? Contact us –

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