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Hidden camera captures medical packaging's ‘Incredible Journey' throughout supply chain


Ready, set, action! Students from Michigan State University's School of Packaging, Supply Chain, Communications and Medical programs are filming the journey of an IV start kit from material creation through disposal to highlight the diverse entities that add value to the kits throughout the supply chain.


IV start kits are found in a variety of medical settings. These include acute-care hospitals, day surgery centers, nursing homes, doctors' and dentists' offices, ambulances/life flights, battle fields and even veterinary offices. They cost less than $5 per kit yet play a critical, foundational role in thousands of medical procedures, from routine to life-saving.


The video diary, which they have dubbed the "Incredible Journey," will chronicle the varied contexts of storage and use of an IV start kit from Medical Action Industries (Arden, NC; www.medical-action.com). The documentary will be one of the highlights of the Healthcare Packaging Immersion Experience (HcPIE), an event intended to raise funds to support research at MSU, scheduled to be held in East Lansing, MI, on Oct. 5 and 6 (www.msu.edu/~hcpie). 


The video diary will be recorded using cameras from three differing viewpoints:
1. An eye-tracking camera to provide the user viewpoint, be they a printing pressman, packaging line worker, fork lift driver, paramedic or patient.
2. A "spy camera" to provide the vantage point of the kit itself.
3. A handheld camera to provide the overall scene.


The story begins with the creation of packaging materials, and continues to converter Oliver Tolas (Grand Rapids, MI), where Tyvek lidstock is coated. By the end of the journey, multiple companies—converters, component manufacturers, assemblers, sterilizers and distributors—located in three different countries will have ensured the safe and sterile delivery of the kits. 


Then early this April, students were granted access to hospital receiving, central supply and the emergency department of Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing, MI, where they filmed its usage on a member of the research team.


As mentioned previously, IV start kits are used in multiple scenarios, and the learning doesn't stop there. Ambulances are one of the greatest users of IV start kits, and for good reason. A patient's condition can deteriorate quickly, and establishing a usable line for future need is critical. On Aug. 25 (a date after PD's press deadline), paramedics from Delta Township, MI, worked with the research team to stage an automobile accident, extrication of the driver (a simulated patient) and the storage and use of the kit.


From production through disposal, the Incredible Journey offers insight for all at the amount of planning and effort that goes into this seemingly simple product. Those who produce materials will see the varied contexts and conditions of use and storage. At the end of the chain, patients and providers will likely be surprised by the incredible amount of care and thought that goes into delivering this life-saving tool in a safe and efficacious manner (all for less than $5).


Stay tuned for the next installment of Packademics, which will chronicle the last legs of the pack's Incredible Journey.

 

This article was written by the School of Packaging team involved in the Incredible Journey project: Laura Bix, PhD; Britteny Bratschi; Doug Furgason; Matt Koss; Jane Severin; MaryKay Smith; Raghav Prashant Sundar and Tony Trier.

 

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