As USask responded to the potential need for more ventilators in the province, College of Medicine faculty were instrumental in ensuring the machines’ functionality and how to use them.
Provincial head of anesthesiology Dr. Mateen Raazi (MD) coordinated feedback from colleagues, including respiratory therapists and clinicians, as they tested the machines. Dr. Donna Goodridge, USask Respiratory Research Centre director and professor in the Department of Medicine, helped to write the ventilator training manual.
The three organizations worked together, providing applied subject matter expertise, research and entrepreneurship, to pave the way for Saskatchewan’s return to medical device manufacturing. Support came from several colleges and units across campus.
“We are delighted to have played a key role in supporting RMD’s development of this innovative technology that will help save lives and create jobs in Saskatchewan,” said USask Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “This success is the result of a visionary company, a health region, and a top research university with expertise in many fields working together to help meet the critical needs of the province and the world.”
RMD Engineering Inc. is a Saskatoon-based company whose subsidiary, One Health Medical Technologies, recently received COVID-19 Medical Device Authorization from Health Canada for an in-house designed, developed and manufactured ventilator. Collaborating with USask and SHA subject matter experts, RMD Engineering was able to successfully prototype an emergency use ventilator (EUV-SK1) for Health Canada certification.
This approval now paves the way for One Health Medical Technologies to sell their ventilator to the SHA and subsequently to the Canadian health care market.
The Saskatchewan government has given the SHA approval to purchase 100 EUV-SK1 ventilators for patients who need them across the province, adding to the ventilators already earmarked for its COVID-19 response. RMD’s One Health Medical Technologies expects to have the first 20 ventilators ready for delivery by December 7. They would be used in SHA acute care facilities where most needed. They are portable and can be moved to the area of greatest need.
“This initiative exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and entrepreneurship we’re so proud of in our province,” said Health Minister Paul Merriman. “Our government fully supports this work, and we are pleased that residents in Saskatchewan and across the country will have access to this equipment if they need it.”
RMD President Jim Boire said he was grateful for the “high level of trust” in his company from the SHA and the leadership of the USask Colleges of Engineering and Medicine which has led to a “world-class collaboration.”
“When COVID hit, my daughter, a Royal University Hospital intensive care nurse, raised awareness of the potential impact on the health-care system. Knowing we had the skill set, capability, and capacity in-house, we chose to do something, rather than nothing, and created an emergency use ventilator using reliable technology and readily available materials,” said Boire, a USask engineering alumnus.