Right-to-repair groups fire shots at medical device manufacturers

Right-to-repair groups fire shots at medical device manufacturers

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MendesGetty Images)

The website iFixit has long been known for its electronics repair kits and for
very public stance
that repair manuals should be accessible to
everyone. That’s one of the foundational arguments of the broader
right-to-repair movement, which lobbies that regular consumers
should be able to repair the products they’ve
purchased—everything from smartphones to washing machines to
farming equipment—without violating a warranty. Now, in the time
of COVID-19, iFixit and a prominent consumer interest group are
tackling a more immediate concern: access to repair manuals for
medical devices.

The company said this week it’s releasing what it calls the
“most comprehensive medical equipment service database in the
world.” The collection of thousands of files is supposed to help
biomedical engineering technicians—the techs who update or fix
medical equipment on site at health care facilities—repair
everything from imaging equipment to EKG monitors to ventilators.
iFixit founder and CEO Kyle Wiens (who also contributes to
WIRED’s Ideas section) called it an “absolutely massive”
undertaking for iFixit, a project that took more than two months to
coordinate and required help from 200 volunteers.

The rollout of the iFixit database is also coming on the heels
of a letter sent to state legislators by Calpirg,
the California arm of the US Public Interest Research Group, with
more than 300 signatures from hospital repair experts. In the
letter, the group calls for loosened restrictions on repairs of
medical equipment and more cooperation from makers of medical

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Right-to-repair groups fire shots at medical device