Call for volunteers: Critical hospital equipment service manuals

Heroic medical teams around the world are either dealing directly with or preparing for an onslaught. Biomedical technicians (biomeds for short) are the repair experts at hospitals, and in many regions they are stretched thin. There are a wide variety of machines made by a number of different manufacturers at hospitals around the world, and there is no single resource for how to repair all of them.

Some manufacturers heroically host service manuals for their equipment on their website, and some make them more challenging to locate. There is no single source of information for biomeds to access. Biomed forums are frequently populated with requests for specific PDF service manuals. The closest thing to a central resource is Frank’s Hospital Workshop, a fantastic website run out of Tanzania with hundreds of manuals and very helpful how-to resources for maintaining medical equipment. But Frank’s site is a one-person operation, and a single point of failure, should overwhelming traffic come calling.

We put out a call for manuals, and the medical community responded.

We have been donated a trove of tens of thousands of medical equipment service manuals. We’ve already uploaded the high-priority ventilators to iFixit, and now we’re working on getting the rest online.

iFixit’s team of about ten technical writers has been working to organize these files for the last two weeks, and we’re just overwhelmed. We can’t do it on our own.

We estimate that we have about 2,000 hours of file curation and organization to build this library. I am looking for people willing to donate at least 20 hours of time. The work is straightforward but requires attention to detail—mostly file organization and renaming. It’s a chance to learn a lot about the medical device maintenance world in a short amount of time! Did you know that hospitals have machines for calibrating their endoscopy machines? Well, you do now!

Can you help? Do you know someone that can? We need librarians, academics, and anyone else with a love for organization and a little extra time right now. No specific repair or medical knowledge is required.

We are going to host a training for new volunteers on Monday at 5:00 PM Pacific on Zoom. Please share this with anyone who could help. (We can set up another training for volunteers in different time zones if we have enough volunteers.)

Reach out to techwriting@ifixit.com if you can help!

Gratefully,
Kyle Wiens
iFixit