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COVID-19 Tech: Fitbit Launches Low-Cost Emergency Ventilator ‘Fitbit Flow’

Fitbit has designed a “high-quality, low-cost and easy-to-use” emergency ventilator called the Fitbit Flow to meet global needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The product has now obtained Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Fitbit Flow builds on standard resuscitator bags with added instruments, sensor and alarms that work together to provide automated compressions and patient monitoring. It is hoped this device will reduce the strain on specialised staff who are needed to operate a commercial ventilator.

However, Fitbit has stated that Fitbit Flow is designed to be used only when a traditional commercial ventilator is not available. Shortages of key equipment for the treatment of COVID-19, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment for medical staff, has been reported in the US.

To develop and test Fitbit Flow, the company worked with emergency medicine clinicians caring for COVID-19 patients at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Hospital.

“Fitbit Flow is a great example of the incredible innovation that emerges when academia and industry employ problem-based innovation to respond quickly to an important need. COVID-19 is a new illness and we still have much to learn about the progression, treatment, and potential recurrence of this disease,” said David Sheridan, MD, MCR, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Co-Director of Emergency Clinical Innovation OHSU.

“It’s critical that we develop solutions that can help ensure our health systems have the equipment they need now, and in the future if we do see a resurgence of COVID-19.”

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