Why Inflo Health?
The day started in the same way they all did during a surge. I donned my uniform of thin, blue plastic gown, N95 mask already soiled from my shift last night, goggles smeared and cloudy from the corrosive bleach that I use in between each patient.
I was logging into my work station when I heard the call over the radio, a bit more frantic than usual. “This is Medic 15 and we have a 65 year old, repeat 6-5 year old, female in acute respiratory distress. We have her on 15L non-rebreather and her 02 Sat is still only 78%. We will hit your doors in two. 15 clear."
Dr. L was sitting next to me. “I’ll take this one,” she said. “You hold down the fort.” With that, she rushed off. This was the cadence of the day during a surge. Ambulance after ambulance arriving with the same story. And we did what we could with the tools we had.
The paramedics arrived and within seconds, I could see the familiar commotion and exodus of personnel towards the critical care bay letting me know that Dr. L was preparing to intubate. I walked over to see if she needed anything, maybe a different tube size, or a bougie, or an order for a chest x-ray that would confirm what we all already knew. But when I looked through the closed glass doors, she was already moments away from starting the procedure. She noticed me loitering outside the room and looked up and exclaimed: “The boxes are here!” And that’s when I noticed the large, clear, plexiglass box that was positioned directly over the patient’s head. Dr. L stuck her arm through holes in the side allowing her access to the patient’s airway.
I had forgotten about the boxes. The idea was that a physical barrier over the patient could help prevent disease transmission through respiratory droplets during such a high-risk procedure. The boxes represented an amazing collaboration between local businesses donating materials, local students using 3-D printing, and local engineers with original plans for the product. Our group had been approached and asked if these might be helpful, and within days, they were provided to us without question.
Anything to keep our patients and staff safe was celebrated as a win, and rightfully so. The community engagement and execution to provide us with a helpful resource in a time of crisis was inspiring. I understood completely why Dr. L had been so excited about these boxes.
But to be honest, I was a bit uncomfortable. Why was it the community’s responsibility to provide us with tools to keep us safe? What scientific evidence did we have to show that these boxes were truly safer for patients and staff?
And most importantly, is this the absolute best that we can do for our patients and providers? While I was touched at the gesture and the effort, and appreciate the time and energy it took to create this solution, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the absolute best that we could do.
Throughout the pandemic, I watched the world change around me. Businesses and governments adapted to this changing world with new technology. I began to ask, who is changing healthcare? Who is innovating in the healthcare space? The more I pulled at this thread, the more I noticed how wide the gap between what is possible and what is practiced has become in healthcare. In an age where I can order toilet paper from my cell phone with just my voice, I should not be waiting for critical information to arrive via a fax machine.
These questions ultimately led me to discover Inflo health, a company addressing known, routine problems in healthcare in a totally novel way. I jumped at the opportunity to join the team on a mission to revolutionize preventative medicine.