While there are many things unknown about COVID-19, one thing is certain – access to effective personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital for health care professionals on the front line.
Times of uncertainty often provide opportunities for creativity and innovation and Ascension Wisconsin is benefiting from these traits on many levels during the current pandemic.
“Our team has been diligently working to sustain our supply of PPE and the investigation of products from non-traditional suppliers has helped us fill some key needs during the management of this pandemic,” said Adam Trafton, vice president and chief resource officer for Ascension Wisconsin with The Resource Group, Ascension's resource and supply management organization.
Often these opportunities stem from already established relationships and that was the case for Ascension Wisconsin after connecting with Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds and CREATE Portage County in Stevens Point.
“After consulting with Ascension leaders from infection prevention and other functions to review and provide input, we were able to come up with a mask design that would bolster our supply of PPE,” said Trafton.
An agreement to provide as many as 25,000 masks a week was just the kind of inventory Trafton was looking for at a time when a change in policy brought universal masking to all facilities across the state.
Meanwhile in Central Wisconsin, CREATE Portage County operates with a mission of accelerating creativity, connection and collaboration to advance vibrant and welcoming communities.
Executive Director Greg Wright leads the charge for the organization which has an IDEA center
equipped with 3D printers to allow residents of Stevens Point and beyond to invest in their creative ideas and expand entrepreneurship.
“We had done some research and found out there were people and organizations like ours supporting the healthcare industry using 3D printers and we knew we could do something similar,” said Wright.
After a similar product review to the innovation masks, CREATE mobilized its 3D army to create more than 3,000 face shields in short order.
“The support of our operations across the state has been humbling and we are grateful,” said Trafton. “We have benefited from countless donations from individuals and businesses that have enhanced our ability to protect our caregivers and the community.”