How COVID-19 Has Changed Healthcare Innovation, Priorities

April 18, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

Dr. Rapoport of Mount Sinai discusses the clinical ingenuity fostered by the pandemic response, and what US healthcare must improve on in the near future.

David Rapoport, MD, and colleagues were not trying to build a Ferrari when some Volkswagens would get the job done.

This is the basic analogy Rapoport used to explain his team’s great contribution to the call for emergency-response resources due to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)—and a succinct way of summarizing the state of clinical innovation in the era of a pandemic.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Rapoport, director of the Sleep Medicine Research Program and Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explained the problem-solving that was associated with his team’s development of a fallback ventilator system for severely ill COVID-19 patients—a system made out of a variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) machine designed for sleep apnea care.

Rapoport also discussed the state of ingenuity and improvisation in emergency care due to COVID-19, and how early understanding of the disease’s effect on respiratory systems benefitted to their designed to redesign previously donated VPAP machines.

“We’re finding that moving air is not the problem,” he said. “Getting oxygenation is, and relatively simple pressures—which is what we can offer with these ‘Volkswagens,’ if you will.”