In deciding on a purchase, it is important to remember the following points:
1. Purpose. The most important consideration in purchasing a ventilator is how you intend to use it. If the purchase is to gain the capability to do intra-facility critical care transports, then pick a model with the advanced features you need. You will probably need to be able to mimic most hospital settings and functions. If you primarily do street EMS, you need something rugged, compact and fast. If you are BLS, you want something simple like one of the resuscitators. Our Jiuxin emergency ventilators have compact design and simple operation.
2. Improve the agency. Consider that a new ventilator purchase is an opportunity to expand capabilities. If you need a transport ventilator, talk about the benefits of upgrading your emergency ventilation capability. If you need a good EMS ventilator, discuss the possibility of including CPAP with your purchase. In today's economy, it's good practice to get the very most you can for your money. In the case of a good ventilator, that often includes the potential for an expanded scope of practice.
3. Invest in good training. The best equipment in the world is of little benefit in untrained hands. I often see departments buy things that cost thousands of dollars and fail to perform decent staff training. If you don't have either the will or the capability to demand rigorous training on a sophisticated medical device, then keep it very simple. A good simple resuscitator can still improve the quality and consistency of ventilation while being highly intuitive to operate.
Ventilators have been around since the 1930s. This is a mature and well-developed technology. Many EMS agencies have enjoyed important benefits by taking control over the administration of the most important drug they give in the field. Some of these benefits are improvements in the quality of care, redistributed staff time, controlled operating costs, and expanded capabilities. But the very best benefit is the opportunity for a conversation afterwards with someone you treated for respiratory or cardiac arrest. These rare but rewarding conversations are what keep me excited about EMS.