A decentralized response to a central problem

We are in the midst of a supply chain crisis: Frontline Health Doers don’t have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs and protect themselves. Open-source advocates see an opportunity for open hardware and local production to contribute to the global response; everyone from manufacturers and engineers to designers and DIYers are eager to help. But their efforts have been hampered by a lack of coordination and guidance. In this particular crisis, authority is unclear, and without a central command to establish standards and protocols, the supply chain is stuck in disequilibrium. 

Cottage industry solutions won’t be enough to address a large-scale, global problem. The maker community and distributed manufacturers will need to find ways to scale solutions that work. We’ll need to help the market find equilibrium so those with resources and expertise can effectively meet overwhelming demand. To make it work, we need to look at the entire supply chain — from design, production, and validation to distribution and logistics. 

Rapid responders are asking: What are the best designs for PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies? How do we test these designs and get them approved? And how do we get supplies to those who need them? 


Designs, specifications, and standards

Manufacturing, production, and validation

Distribution and logistics

  • Several initiatives are helping to collect and distribute PPE directly to Health Doers: GetUsPPE aggregates PPE needs and facilitates donations across the country; Project N95 connects PPE manufacturers with healthcare workers who need equipment; the COVID-19 Emergency Supply Chain matches hospitals, governments, and large organizations with verified PPE suppliers; and PPE Link helps research labs donate equipment to hospitals.
  • Other initiatives are aimed at members of the public: Mask MatchMasks for Docs, and Protect A Nurse enable individuals to donate PPE directly to hospitals; Relief Crafters of America and NYC Makes PPE are bringing makers together to create and disseminate PPE.