Hoarding also of medical devices for patient ventilation
Overall strategy and products “made in Germany”, key factors underpinning the ability to deliver
Wide range of measures as a basis for coping with the significant additional demand
Corona puts pressure on everyone – most of all, however, on the healthcare system. The sudden, exponential increase in the number of people infected with the virus and with respiratory problems causes not only a huge need for medical aids to protect against infection, but also triggers a rapidly increasing demand for medical products, which ensure the ventilation of COVID-19 patients. This is what TRACOE medical GmbH from Nieder-Olm (Rhineland-Palatinate), one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of medical devices and appliances for tracheostomy and laryngectomy patients, who require ventilation (respiratory care), is also experiencing just now. The family business, whose philosophy “Made in Germany” and whose maxim “Quality by People for People” have always been essential components of the corporate strategy, can, however, reassure its customers and patients in this – in many aspects – confusing situation: “As a systemically relevant supplier and manufacturer of respiratory aids, we are aware of our responsibility for patients. So, we are doing everything in our power and responding with a wide range of risk-minimisation measures to enable us to continue to meet an ever-increasing demand”, said Dr Thomas Jurisch, Managing Director of TRACOE medical GmbH.
The situation in Italy is a horrific illustration of this: if the components needed for the ventilation of patients are not available, these patients will die. “As the number of patients would soon exceed the number of available mechanical respirators and intensive care beds in the event of a continued exponential rise in the rate of infection, it is essential to slow down the spread of the virus – this should now be clear to everyone. Since only then is it possible to provide patients with the proper care”, Dr Jurisch said. The managing director knows what he is talking about, as the products that TRACOE medical manufactures are vital for patients, who are no longer able to get air via the natural airways.
Significant additional demand for the entire product range
The majority of TRACOE products are used for patients, who are expected to need invasive ventilation for longer than ten days. Dr Jurisch: “Patients, who need invasive ventilation quickly and for a short time, are usually intubated. This means a tube is inserted into the trachea via the mouth, thus enabling oxygen to reach the lungs. Tracheostomy tubes – our core products – are normally used, if the patient needs to be ventilated for a longer period”. Unlike intubation, an incision (tracheotomy) is made below the larynx for this. The cannula, through which the patient is supplied with air and hence with lifesaving oxygen, is then inserted Into the small opening, the tracheostoma. “We have recently seen a significant additional demand for our products“, Dr Jurisch explained. The availability of surgical sets, spare inner cannulas and products for monitoring cuff pressure (SMART) is therefore particularly important. “The TRACOE smart cuff manager, for example, protects patients not only against aspiration and pressure peaks by automatically maintaining the cuff pressure between the required 20 and 30 cm H2O, but is additionally beneficial in the context of corona, because it allows the monitoring of cuff pressure from a distance and reduces the risk of aerosol formation caused by cuff pressure that is too low. We believe this saves time and reduces the risk of infection”, the managing director explained.
Measures to ensure deliverability
The corona crisis therefore requires not only internal measures to protect staff from infection and prevent the virus from spreading, but also measures to guarantee the production and delivery of the products. Dr Jurisch: “For us as manufacturers of tracheostomy tubes, hygiene forms the foundation of our work, regardless of corona. Product hygiene – from hygienic clothing and sterility testing through to particle measurement in our cleanrooms – is observed, examined and evaluated with the greatest care and regularity at TRACOE. However, we have, of course, also switched administration largely to home office”, the managing director said: “We are ensuring production by operating a double-shift, so that even in the event of an employee becoming infected and the necessary quarantining of the entire group, the others can continue production. The loss of a group will certainly affect the quantity of products manufactured, but recent stipulations by the Ministry of Health help us to maintain operation in such a case. These measures minimise the risk of us no longer being able to deliver. However, further strategic corporate decisions are now paying off: “As our high-quality medical devices have always been “made in Germany” and we source the components for these predominantlyfrom within the EU, we are still able to reliably supply hospitals and other customers in Germany Europe and worldwide, even in the current situation” said Dr Jurisch, who, given the hoarding of TRACOE products, also realises that hospitals and other customers will have to restructure their respective stocking systems for future crises of this nature. The managing director continued: “We are aware that people will die, if we cannot deliver. TRACOE is therefore taking every necessary and feasible measure to ensure that it remains stable as a systemically relevant medical technology manufacturer – and that it will do this with a steady hand and a clear head”.