Twinsburg company working to help solve nationwide shortage in medical devices

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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TWINSBURG, Ohio (WOIO) - A Twinsburg-based company has been enlisted to help solve nationwide shortages in medical equipment and devices.

In fact, the founder of ReLink suggests the issue isn’t so much a shortage, but rather a lack of proper inventory management.

“We talk about these situations where people thought they had more ventilators than they had, or more beds than they had...They lost sight of them! They had them, they just didn’t know where they were, they didn’t know where they were stored, they didn’t know what happened to them,” Ray Dalton said.

His company specializes in redistributing medical equipment and devices, typically moving them from one facility to another, but they also repurpose them or help facilitate the sale of them.

Dalton notes that many hospitals lose track of their equipment because they’re expensive to maintain. So, in situations when certain devices aren’t needed, they’re stored away because keeping them in active patient areas requires routine calibration and testing in order to adhere to regulations.

“If we don’t have an active plan to know where they’re at, when they were serviced last, how to re-position them, we’re going to run into the same problem a year from now, or two years from now. It’s expensive to maintain devices you’re not using,” Dalton told 19 News. “It takes a lot of warehousing and technology, so what hospitals do is they just unplug them and push them into a warehouse and they forget about them”

ReLink helps its clients redeploy the devices in an orderly fashion.

“Will we learn anything? I think we will for a while,” Dalton said. “I hope we do for a long time but I’m not positive. Because economics drive a lot of the decisions we make long term.”

“There are more medical devices in the United States today, than people who can use them,” Dalton added. “The question is getting them to the right place at the right time.”

Dalton told 19 News that the company has essentially tripled its workload during the pandemic. He said they typically handle between 8,000 and 12,000 devices each month, but they’re now handling 30,000.

“Our business was really set up for COVID like events.”

The company is currently helping a hospital in Philadelphia move equipment from one floor to a new isolation area. Dalton suggests their work helps relieve hospitals of the burden of handling logistics during a pandemic -- allowing them to focus on health care.

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