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Package opening: Are you up to the challenge?

Package opening: Are you up to the challenge?
Image source: Shutterstock/ChaNaWiT

Sterile medical procedures depend upon proper handling of the sterile barrier—and that includes opening medical packaging properly. But what does that mean, and just how hard can it be? And, more importantly, can you build features into your package designs to ease proper aseptic presentation?

Laura Bix, PhD, Associate Director, Michigan State University, has been studying the package opening challenges faced by nurses and other healthcare professionals for years in the university’s lab, the Packaging HUB (Healthcare Universal Design and Biomechanics). She has organized numerous demonstrations immersing participants in simulated scenarios during MSU’s Healthcare Packaging Immersion Experience and has encouraged attendees to better understand user perspectives.

Bix will bring this hands-on approach to the upcoming WestPack Hub in the February 6 demo, “Just How Hard Is It to Open a Medical Package Aseptically?” To demonstrate how challenging aseptic presentation can be when opening medical packaging, Bix will lead a live demonstration and invite audience members to take part. She’ll apply Glitterbug lotion to the hands of volunteers, who will then open medical packages. The packages would then be viewed under a UV light to measure the amount of contact or contamination that can occur during opening. 

Bix says that research by a few of her graduate students has shown that package design can impact the chance of contamination. For instance, “material curl, namely material that curls in, can impact the rate of contact,” she explains. And the opening process employed by providers, specifically "one that employs less movement and results in a smooth, fluid motion," can significantly lower rates of contact," she adds.

“Package designers can help or hinder the opening process,” she says.

The session will also help attendees understand opening methods, which could prove invaluable in preparing for the European Union’s new Medical Device Regulations and the upcoming revision of ISO 11607. “Medical device manufacturers may have to characterize and validate package performance in the hands of a practitioner,” says Bix.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about sterile package opening. Join us at the WestPack Hub on Tuesday, February 6, 11:15 am - 12:00 pm. The WestPack Hub will be held at WestPack 2018 Booth #5297. The session is free to all expo attendees.

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