Founded in 1996 and located in Kent, Ohio, Emergency Products and Research, otherwise known as EP+R, is a manufacturer of spineboards, immobilization devices and extrication products for the medical industry. The company has 6-10 full-time employees, generates more than $1.2M in annual revenue, and partners with academic institutions and regional organizations to further medical product research.
During the 2014 Ebola scare in the United States, the company took note of the negative perceptions plaguing the medical industry regarding decontamination, specifically disinfection and sterilization. Ambulance equipment and stretchers were wiped down after each use, but, more often than not, many patients experienced additional infections or ailments as a result of remaining pathogenic microorganisms, specifically viruses and bacteria. To combat this issue, CEO Jim Doherty and Vice President Jason Thompson began developing AMBUstat, a program designed to decontaminate ambulance surfaces that subject patients and EMS personnel to pathogenic microorganisms. However, as they conducted more research with microbiologists and chemists, they realized they required specialized expertise from an outside party. The company sought help from industry leaders and academic institutions before contacting MAGNET in early 2015.
“It helped us to realize that there’s a big problem out there, and I’m fortunate to work for a company that has its principles in the right place,” Thompson said. “The AMBUstat program is really principle-based, and it’s one of those things where we all go to bed at night and know we’re doing the right thing.”
MAGNET’s Role After EP+R touched base with the organization, they were connected with a MAGNET consultant who facilitated discussions between company leaders and subject-matter experts at the NASA Glenn Science Center. The conversations spawned scientific revelations for EP+R, which resulted in the creation of a portable fogging system used to disinfect typical pre-hospital patient care areas within 40 minutes, including the unavoidable physical cleaning step in the process. In addition, NASA provided an expansive document repository that could be used for additional research on the company’s products.
“If I told most people we got to sit down with NASA’s atomic oxygen expert, people might say, ‘what could you have possibly taken away from that?’”, Thompson said. “But having that knowledge in your pocket instills a degree of confidence that makes you think your program is unstoppable.”
The product, which dispenses an atomized proprietary solution of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, is also aimed toward the decontamination of other spaces, such as waiting rooms, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers.
“We should implement infection control practices on a regular basis … All patients should be treated the same every time.”
Outcome and Impact
As a result of EP+R’s work with MAGNET and NASA, they experienced the following successes:
• 2 new contracted salespeople in the state of Ohio
• Warehousing and physical expansion expected by 2017-2018
• Pursuit of new funding opportunities from federal and state channels
• Collaboration with Kent State University on biomedical research and the intended hiring of two graduate assistants
“I know people who are stuck in a quagmire of information overload, and they should stop and think about the roots of their thoughts. Why would we trip over ourselves when there are incredible resources like MAGNET and NASA right in front of us?,” Thompson said. “We’re very lucky to have organizations who facilitate job development and economic stimulation … Go to the folks at MAGNET, and you’ll be very amazed to find out you’re only a few weeks or months away from an answer.”