Vendors Ramp Up Production to Combat COVID-19

March 24, 2020

Philips and GE increase efforts to fulfill healthcare needs.

Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 has created turmoil for the U.S. healthcare industry, pushing facilities to capacity, depleting resources, and maxing out equipment. And, radiology departments nationwide are largely at the center of this growing pressure as more and more patients with suspected infection are sent for imaging.

To help alleviate that stress, industry vendors are now increasing equipment production in an effort to ensure healthcare providers nationwide have the resources needed to effectively treat patients during this continued outbreak.

In many cases, these added machines will make it easier for facilities to dedicate CT scanners, ultrasound, and X-ray machine to patients with COVID-19 infection. Doing so will reserve other equipment for healthier patients, helping to control the viral spread.

Recently, both GE Healthcare and Philips announced augmented production efforts.

“To help address this global challenge, we have increased our manufacturing capacity and output of equipment – including CTs, ultrasound devices, mobile X-ray systems, patient monitors and ventilators – important in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, while taking steps to ensure safe operations for our employees,” said Kieran Murphy, president and chief executive officer of GE Healthcare, in a press statement.

By hiring additional manufacturing employees and shifting existing ones to immediately support the increased demand and collaborating with suppliers to side-step any shortages when possible, GE hopes to keep facilities outfitted with the necessary resources, he said. The company will also work closely with its clinical and technical experts to address and customer questions as quickly as possible.

In addition, Philips Chief Executive Office Frans van Houten said, in a written statement, Philips’ supply lines in China are running at 80-percent capacity after being shutdown earlier in the outbreak. The six factories there are, once again, producing several imaging products, including ultrasound machines and CT scanners.

“To meet increased demand for our professional heathcare products and solution, we are in the process of increasing their production and roll-out,” he said. “In particular, this relates to certain diagnostic imaging systems, patient monitors, and ventilators.”

Alongside increasing production to serve health systems in the United States, van Houten said, Philips has also provided equipment to medical facilities Kenya, South Sudan, Italy, and China.