Plymouth Company Plays Crucial Role in COVID-19 Treatment
As the number of people infected with the novel Coronavirus continues to climb, hospitals around the world are making every effort to ensure that they have the necessary equipment to treat those patients.
A medical device company based in Plymouth is producing equipment to help the COVID-19 patients in those hospitals.
“The demand for our products is unprecedented. I’ve lost track as far as the volume of orders that are coming through,” said Dave Hemink, CEO of Nonin Medical.
The products he’s referring to are fingertip and table top pulse oximetry systems. The tool attaches to your fingertip and sends two wavelengths of light through the finger to measure your pulse rate and how much oxygen is in your system. The measurements are critical to caregivers as they’re managing patients in settings such as emergency rooms and intensive care units.
“Pulse oximetry would be used in any one of those settings, and certainly would be used diagnosing, treating, managing patients that are either suspected with COVID-19 or are confirmed, “Hemink said.
As a result, Nonin Medical has experienced an unprecedented increased in demand for their products in just one month.
“We’re doing our best to supply global demand that is a factor of something we’ve never seen before,” Hemink said. “And I think that’s gonna continue for quite some time as we’re managing this epidemic on a global basis.”
While business is certainly booming for Nonin Medical and its 250 Minnesota-based employees, the challenges of supplying the world with a necessary piece of medical equipment during this pandemic are real.
“We’re working very diligently with our partners around the world to ensure that we can keep our supply chain going because we can’t build enough product right now,” Hemink said.
Medical Alley Providing Assistance
Since the demand for Nonin’s products spiked, Golden Valley-based Medical Alley has played an integral role in not only help helping their supply chain issues, but the supply chain issues facing Minnesota’s other med tech companies as well.
“We see countries around the world starting to move to shut down, and some of our members have plants or supply chain in those countries,” said Shaye Mandle, the president & CEO of Medical Alley. “In some cases, it might be their only critical supply chain, and they’re making products that are coming to the U.S. and need to be on the front lines.”
Mandle and his team work with the federal government, and Minnesota’s congressional delegation, to help get those international resources in the hands of local medical device companies.
“If we don’t have one part, we can’t build, so making sure our supply chain is protected is incredible,” Hemink said. “Medical Alley has been phenomenal for us, and I can’t say enough about the team over there as far as their proactiveness and mustering support.”
In addition to helping with supply chain issues, Medical Alley has also worked with the governor’s office to ensure that employees of Minnesota’s medical device companies (and their suppliers), have the appropriate exemptions from the stay at home order.
“And the governor’s been fantastic,” Mandle said.
The same can be said about the job Mandle has done to help companies like Nonin Medical manage their issues during these uncertain times.
“They are playing a critical, critical role for us right now, trying to help us with local, regional, and federal assistance where we need it,” Hemink said.
As for when the demand is going to slow down for Nonin’s pulse oximeters, Hemink says that’s the million dollar question, as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
“Even when this slows down, I think medical technology and medical device companies on a global basis are gonna be seeing the effects of this for quite some time,” he said. “Because we’re depleted in a lot of areas and we’re trying to rebuild in real time, to say nothing of getting back to a static position.”
For now, Nonin Medical’s employees will continue working hard to keep up with orders.