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Packaging lab encourages medical professionals to speak their minds

Packaging lab encourages medical professionals to speak their minds
Boston Scientific’s new, ergonomically-designed closure strip allows users to grab a loose tab and easily pull the closure strip away from the carton’s tuck flap to unseal the package.

Intuitive, user-friendly packaging is essential in healthcare settings, where quick, confident access to treatment devices and diagnostic products can make a life-changing difference for patients.

To improve the user experience for healthcare professionals using its cardiac catheters, Boston Scientific created a unique packaging lab, where it hosts catheterization-lab technicians, nurses and managers. Called the User Experience Research Lab (UERL), the facility is laid out like a working “cath lab,” right down to shelving systems and lighting.

The UERL opened in July 2012 and has hosted several hundred visitors to date. At the lab, the packaging team gathers voice-of-customer (VOC) data by administering surveys, showcasing new packaging concepts and talking one-on-one with product users.

The primary goal is “to allow healthcare professionals to identify the correct product and get it to the patient as quickly as possible,” saysRoss Christianson, principal R&D packaging engineer at Boston Scientific. “Everything we’re doing is focused to that end.”

So far, the lab’s highest profile success story is the company’s Tear Tab closure strip, a patent-pending packaging innovation that vastly improves product access.

The new, ergonomically-designed closure strip allows users to grab a loose tab and easily pull the closure strip away from the carton’s tuck flap to unseal the package.

In addition, the Tear Tab closure strip stays attached to the carton, eliminating an additional piece of packaging to discard. While the packaging team was collecting closure strip VOC data, they learned that technicians handling the packaging “don’t want to deal with all these removable pieces and another trip to the trash can,” Christianson explains.

Earlier this year, the Boston Scientific Tear Tab closure strip won a 2014 AmeriStar award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). Amie Marshall, senior packaging engineer at Boston Scientific and Tear Tab designer, was recognized as a finalist in the 2014 Visionary Awards, presented by Packaging Digest and Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News.

The UERL has allowed Boston Scientific to gain invaluable customer feedback, giving them unique access to VOC data and encouraging customer-centered packaging innovations.

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