Traditional oxygen masks routinely used give no indication that oxygen is or isn't flowing to patients. User errors are common with these masks resulting in no flow of oxygen to the patient. This may lead to poor clinical outcomes, longer hospital stays, and increased costs to the healthcare system. Human factors account for the vast majority of these errors. Healthcare workers often have to get close to traditional masks to ensure, visually or audibly, that oxygen is indeed flowing. The challenge was to design a mask that incorporated a visually prominent flow indicator to confirm oxygen flow at a distance.
By using a bright, spring operated, orange indicator within a clear injection-moulded housing the device offers confident confirmation of low-flow, no-flow and high flow oxygen states to clinicians at a great distance. The device was developed to be attitude-independent and extremely intuitive to the user. The device cleverly uses dual airflow paths and internal ridges to achieve quiet, fail-safe operation. It is also in-line with oxygen flow and can be retrofitted to most existing standard oxygen mask systems. Deceptively simple the device required extensive industrial design, aeronautical engineering and human factor input to reach its current iteration.
12-13 million surgeries are performed in the UK each year and 2.7 million in Australia. In 2018 the NHS issued a safety alert in response to errors with portable oxygen systems evidenced by 400 critical incidents and 6 deaths in the preceding 3 years. The final report observed “Flow indicators have potential to improve patient safety and provide a clear visual cue that oxygen is flowing to a patient.” SureflO2 is a simple solution and also distances Healthcare workers from the patients airway to reduce infection risk. A recycling system is being implemented for materials used in the product.
SureflO2 is an indicator of oxygen flow retrofitted into standard oxygen masks currently used in the health system. The bright orange indicator alerts healthcare providers as to the absence or presence of oxygen flow without coming close to the airway and therefore the plume of exhaled gases from the patient. The problem of failure to recognise interruption to or absence of oxygen flow is a significant one in hospital systems. This device addresses the problem and additionally helps staff to distance themselves from the patient's exhaled gases. The orange marker is easily distinguished up to 9 metres, standing out from the traditional colour hues in the hospital system without being alarming. The indicator mechanism is completely constructed in Australia. The injection moulded plastics are recyclable. The indicator mechanism due to the need for absolute visual clarity, has been constructed in a curved manner to enhance visibility. The cap mechanism is uniquely strong due to its claw construct yet is not bulky and is tapered to allow retrofitting to existing market masks. An aeronautical engineer was involved to assist in designing a laminar flow system and internal side flanges prevent rattle maintaining a quiet mechanism.