Medical device packaging put to the test at HealthPack 2015

By Daphne Allen in Medical Packaging on March 13, 2015

Nurses evaluating medical device packaging during HealthPack’s “Voice of the Customer” session captivated attendees at this year’s conference, held in Norfolk, VA.

Organized by the Institute of Packaging Professionals’ Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee, the panel of three nurses opened several different medical device packages submitted for review.

As in past years, nurses expressed the desire for easy-to-open packages. “I like packages you can just open easily and present without items jumping or flying out,” one nurse said.

A couple of the nurses seemed to prefer packages that could peel open at package corners. They also said they would like to see more area at the edge of packages for them to hold on to when opening. “If you give us more room, it is not as difficult to pull apart,” said one nurse.

And one suggestion was made for companies to highlight the edge intended for opening.

One nurse said she finds header bags difficult to use, saying they are “hard to hold and present.” And another nurse said foil packaging “feels like super glue.” Another nurse said she did not like “a package in a package.”

“Dumping” or “flipping” items into the sterile field continues to be a common practice, as evidenced by the panelists’ descriptions. “Small items can be flipped into the sterile field, but not big or heavy items,” described one nurse. “I am not going to drop something my paycheck cannot cover,” said one nurse.

Nurses also expressed concerns about packages that have “sharp edges poking out of the packages upon opening.”

Shrink wrap can also be hard to remove, said one nurse, noting that having a pull tab would beneficial.

Nurses did like trays because they offer “a harder base I can hold,” said one nurse. “Stuff won’t flop out of a hard plastic tray,” said another.

However, snaps “could hinder getting a device out of a tray,” said one nurse.

Nurses were also concerned about the amount of packaging waste generated when opening products. “The less trash, the better,” one nurse said. Recycling is of interest, but “when convenient,” said one nurse. Another noted that they cannot leave the room to throw stuff away.

Click here for details on HealthPack 2016, which will be held March 15-17, 2016, in New Orleans.

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