New England hospitals partake in online swap meets to trade PPE, supplies

New England hospitals partake in online swap meets to trade PPE, supplies
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Two hospital systems in New England facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies are using online swap meets to connect with other hospitals or doctor’s offices that have a surplus, according to The Associated Press.

The online exchange programs come amid a continuing PPE and supply shortage as coronavirus hotspots throughout the country face thousands of patients per day. 

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this,” Michelle Hood, chief operating officer of the American Hospital Association, told the AP. “It’s sure made a difference to those who got supplies when they really needed them.”

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The initiative by the hospital systems has allowed medical facilities to stay afloat while waiting for government aid. 

In one case, a hospital in Burlington, Vt., was low on face shields but had a surplus of hand sanitizer. In another, a hospital in nearby New Hampshire was short on hand sanitizer but had a surplus of protective gear. 

The two used the Exchange at Resilinc, a new online trading platform from Stanford Health Care, to connect.

In addition, at least another three online swap platforms popped up last month to address shortages in hospitals, the AP found.

One organization, the Afya Foundation, typically sends hospital supplies from the New York area to hospitals in developing countries. Since the start of the pandemic, they have shifted roles to collect medical supplies from other avenues to donate them to hospitals in the New York City area.

New York City is one of the areas of the U.S. hit hardest by the pandemic. There are over 190,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city with close to 20,000 deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times

Afya has collected over 140,000 masks from beauty salons, auto repair shops, plastic surgeons and others and donated them to 110 hospitals and other medical facilities.