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A lot of talk this week is about manufacturers and the government finally taking big steps to produce more ventilators. Based on real-time purchasing data from the OpenMarkets platform, this move is critical, as there are simply no more ventilators available to be purchased across the US market. 

Let’s quickly consider the context. The vast majority of Health Systems did not begin ramping up medical equipment purchasing until Friday, March 13th - the day after sports leagues and many schools nationwide began closing en mass. 

The response from Health Systems was immediate and forceful; equipment purchasing immediately increased nearly 10-fold, with a rather dramatic shift in the types of equipment being bought. 

Let’s look at the top 10 categories of equipment being purchased now vs. the same time periods in 2018 and 2019:

2020 2018/19
Ventilators Furniture & Fixture
Beds Cart
Thermometers Surgical Instruments
Infection Control  ESU
Infusion Pumps Ultrasounds
Carts Infusion Pumps
Ultrasounds Wheelchairs
Respirators  Imaging Tables
Food Pumps Microscopes (OR)
Laryngoscopes C-Arms

Another striking fact about equipment buying behavior the past 18 days is how fast Health Systems are shifting their focus and evolving to the reality inside the hospitals. Anesthesia machines, oxygen concentrators and video laryngoscopes are equipment items being sought in high quantities over the past 5 days; for the anesthesia machines, this volume is almost exclusively from NY State as they buy machines w/ integrated ventilators. 

One category not contained in this analysis, but top-of-mind for all is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). According to a 3/31 study by LEK Consulting, Health Systems are more than twice as concerned about PPE shortages as ventilator supply. 

We’d like to end this with an uplifting note received yesterday from the supply chain team at Evergreen Health, where the first COVID-19 patients in the United States were treated: “Thanks for the help John (an OpenMarkets team member). I’ve been asked to hold on the BP cuffs temporarily… they were for surge planning and opening additional rooms, but we may not need to (fingers crossed!). I’ll reach out if anything else comes up.” 

OpenMarkets is honored to be a resource for Evergreen Health and so, so many other Health Systems over the past few weeks as they buy life-saving equipment. We are here to help. 

About OpenMarkets: 

OpenMarkets is an online platform connecting Health Systems to much needed equipment. Backed by 100+ suppliers featuring 35,000+ products, OpenMarkets helps 800+ hospitals to simplify how they purchase equipment. To learn more about how OpenMarkets can help with equipment purchasing and get started today, please contact

Tom Derrick

Tom leads a range of core functions for OpenMarkets, including strategic partnerships and marketing. Prior to OpenMarkets, Tom served as a senior communications director for... More about Tom Derrick