Abbott speeds up medical equipment assistance during outbreak

Date: 28 Feb 2020

Using advanced medical technology and equipment, Chicago-based healthcare company Abbott is ramping up efforts in offering assistance to China in its fight against the COVID-19.

Facing a shortage of medical equipment, the China Association of Medical Equipment issued an emergency medical equipment list, and Abbott's "black technology" is on the list.

"Black technology", namely the i-STAT System, features a handheld portable blood analyzer combined with single-use test cartridges. Delivering lab-quality results in less than 10 minutes, the system can help streamline processes to accelerate decision-making, increase efficiency, and promote patient-centric care, which is of crucial importance in the fight against the epidemic.

"The i-STAT system allows healthcare providers to perform in-house diagnostic testing and obtain lab-quality results within minutes. It provides healthcare professionals with the information they need, such as SpO2 - blood oxygen level - in this case, to rapidly make treatment decisions, which may lead to improved efficiency and help to save more lives during the epidemic," Jerry Guo, general manager of Point of Care at Abbott China, said.

In addition, the portable handheld device is capable of point of care testing by using only two or three drops of blood. It is not only compatible with medical quarantine conditions, but also beneficial to healthcare providers by helping reduce their risk of infection, he said.

"The Point of Care Technology that the i-STAT system adopts enables medical professionals to watch closely to patients' body condition changes through necessary tests. Without the need of sample submission and fingertip blood collection, it relieves healthcare providers' workload, and lowers their infection chances," said Xiang Xiaowei, director of the Critical Medicine Department of Sinopharm Dongfeng General Hospital.

Data from the National Health Commission showed that by Feb 11, there were a total of 1,716 confirmed COVID-19 cases among medical professionals in the country, taking up 3.8 percent of the total confirmed cases. Six of them died, which was 0.4 percent of total deaths.

Dong Jiahong, executive vice-president of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association and executive president of Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, said that hospitals are a severely affected area with a high risk of COVID-19 infection.

"We should improve the isolation and treatment process of patients, adopt targeted optimization of diagnosis and treatment, and block virus transmission in the hospital to avoid nosocomial infection among medical staff," he said.

Apart from protecting medical professionals from infection, Abbott's i-STAT system also plays an important role during the "golden time" of emergency treatment. When a severe patient is sent to the hospital by ambulance, the system realizes a less than 10-minute diagnostic test on the ambulance. Test results are directly transmitted to the hospital, enabling healthcare providers to take action as soon as the patient gets to the hospital.

Compared to a traditional in-hospital blood test, which generally takes 40 to 60 minutes, the system greatly improves diagnosis efficiency and saves a lot of time, industry experts said.

To offer assistance to frontline medical professionals in combating the COVID-19, when the epidemic first broke out in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Abbott donated a batch of i-STAT systems. With surging needs in medical equipment, the company donated another batch, together with a batch of matching test cards. The company vows to offer constant support to China throughout its fight against the virus.

As a constant name on the Global Fortune 500 list, Abbott has its business across over 160 countries and regions around the globe, covering areas including medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, and nutrition.

Source: China Daily

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