In response to recent concerns about the spread of Ebola, the ECRI Institute has established an online Ebola resource center as a free public service. At the center of the new resource, which ECRI says it will continue to develop, is a benchmark database of prices paid for personal protective equipment (PPE). The Ebola PPE Price Index includes PPE products in nine key categories, along with manufacturer make and model, and low, average, and high prices paid. Initial pricing data comes directly from members of ECRI Institute’s PriceGuide. The organization says that the index will be updated as more hospitals—members and nonmembers—contribute additional pricing data.

“The Ebola PPE Price Index provides a free benchmarking service that hospitals can use now, and importantly, it establishes a mechanism to create a crowdsourced, ongoing resource for pricing,” Jeffrey Lerner, PhD, ECRI president and CEO, said in a press release. “Pricing transparency can help forestall potentially excessive price rises for PPE if demand grows,” he added.

Timothy Browne, director of ECRI’s price guide, explained how the Ebola index was created: “Our first step in creating the index was to reach out to manufacturers of protective personal equipment and ask them for their list of recommended products for Ebola. This is the first time we’ve released such a comprehensive list of products and prices outside of the scope of our PriceGuide membership.”

In addition to the pricing data, the resource center includes research, publications, and tools to help healthcare organizations protect healthcare workers as well as patients. Sample documents include training resources on blood-borne pathogens, occupational exposure to blood or body fluids, and sharps safety. An FAQ section, contributed by ECRI Institute’s engineering group, provides answers to many technology-related questions posed by member facilities.

According to ECRI, the site will also soon host the results of a nationwide survey of biomedical and clinical engineers gauging their readiness to manage the technology aspects of treating Ebola patients.

For more information, visit the new Ebola Resource Center or watch a short video describing the center.