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University Hospitals, MAGNET Develop New COVID-19 Protective Testing Booths

Updated: 5:20 p.m., Thursday, May 14, 2020 

University Hospitals is using a new protective tool to conduct COVID-19 tests.

The hospital system’s innovation department, UH Ventures, partnered with the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) to design and develop innovative COVID-19 testing booths. Workers administer the tests through arms-length gloves attached to a barrier on the booth.

This could speed up the testing process, as the workers no longer need to change personal protective equipment in between each test.

UH Ventures President David Sylvan said the barriers were designed to help protect both patients and caregivers during the testing process while also conserving personal protective equipment.

“Anything that we could do to put ourselves in a position where we could preserve some of this precious inventory was obviously desirous,” Sylvan said. “Patients also glean a sense of safety and protection when they see that the provider, who is actually administering the test, is behind a protective screen.”

Sylvan also said there is a cleaning protocol established for the booths.

Four booths are currently in use at UH’s Broadview Heights, Otis Moss, Ashtabula and Rainbow Babies and Children’s locations. If they are deemed successful at these community hospital locations, Sylvan said they may expand the booths throughout the hospital system.

“It was very purposeful that we placed these products in settings where we could control the environment in order to validate the use case and the efficacy,” Sylvan said.

In addition, the booths are portable, so they can be transported to different locations or counties if needed.

MAGNET developed and manufactured the initial prototype based off of a design concept from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. President and CEO of MAGNET Ethan Karp said they relied on UH clinicians’ perspectives for the design.

“The biggest takeaway I’ve had from this whole experience is the amount of innovation that can get done … when you collaborate,” Karp said. “This is a fantastic example of UH and UH Ventures saying, ‘you know manufacturing, we know what our doctors need, let’s figure these ideas out together.’”

The booths were built by local manufacturer Robeck Fluid Power.

Karp said more booths can be manufactured if UH or other health care providers request them.

The project was supported by the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, a coalition formed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April to repurpose manufacturing businesses to make PPE.

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