3D Printed Swabs to Reduce Shortages

3D Printed Swabs to Reduce Shortages

Formlabs, a Massachusetts-based 3D-printing company, is preparing its Ohio manufacturing facility to supply 100,000 swabs per day to stem the shortage of this key component of COVID-19 test kits.

These swabs will first be sent to partner hospitals that helped develop and design the swabs.  A plan is at work to access the distribution channels of 3,000 hospitals in the U.S. so that Formlabs can supply the much needed component of the COVID-19 test kits for widespread testing of the disease.


Video Spotlight: Hospitals face shortages of medical supplies as US cases spike (Mar 20, 2020, Fox News)


This post is based on the Tech Crunch article, 3D-printing company Formlabs expects to bring new swabs for COVID-19 to market, by Jonathan Shieber, March 25, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Jonathan Parry/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Formlabs in a position to address the shortage of medical supplies of COVID-19?

Guidance: Formlabs has the 3-D printing technology and ISO-135 controlled facility to manufacture test swabs, a key component of COVID-I9 test kits in high demand but short supply.  With more COVID-19 test kits, more testing can be done Continue reading

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Kia Recalls SUVS Due to Fire Hazard

Kia Recalls SUVS Due to Fire Hazard

March 9, 2020

Kia is joining Hyundai in recalling SUVs and minivans in the United States because of an electrical short that is a known fire hazard.

Kia and Hyundai combined have recalled over 650,000 vehicles due to this issue in the braking system computer. Engine fires have been reported for several years now in both Kia and Hyundai vehicles.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CBS News article, Kia recalls over 200,000 SUVs and vans for electrical problems that can cause fires, by AP, February 21, 2020, and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock/piotr szczepanek.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why does there seem to be a systematic issue with engine fires for these manufacturers?

Guidance: Students should recognize that a good quality management program should theoretically eliminate a systematic issue altogether.  Ask students to consider the impact of sourcing on quality management.  It is likely the assembled parts, such as the braking computer system, are being shipped from Chinese factories.  Continue reading

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Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Tired employees at Walgreens and CVS are making mistakes that may threaten patient safety.

For some time, pharmacists have argued that understaffed and high-pace work environments are contributing to medication errors and compromising public safety. Management has challenged these allegations but is planning to review the standards used to evaluate pharmacists’ performance.


Video Spotlight: Medication Errors at 24-Hour Pharmacies


This post is based on The New York Times article, At Walgreens, Complaints of Medication Errors Go Missing, by E. Gabler, February 21, 2020, and the YouTube video, Prescription Drug Dispensing Errors Kill 100,000 People Per Year in USby CBSDFW, May 14, 2018. Image source: fstop123/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do Walgreens and CVS try to ensure high levels of productivity from their pharmacists?

Guidance: The productivity index is measured by the ratio of output to input. In this article, the efforts mentioned to boost productivity involve a reduction of inputs through increased quantitative workload and multi-tasking. The high pace of work, lower staffing levels (e.g. elimination of overlapping pharmacists, reduced work hours for technicians), and longer hours contribute to quantitative overload. Answering the phone, filling drive-through and in-store orders, and giving flu shots Continue reading

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