Designing Emergency Response Medical Packaging

Posted by Rob Helmke | Wednesday, November 1, 2017 1 Comment

Emergency response medical devices are utilized in a wide range of applications, from hospital emergency rooms and ambulances to emergency first-aid kits and natural disaster areas.

No matter the specific scenario, however, medical device packaging must adhere to a number of quality and safety specifications.

While sterility and quality are top concerns, several other factors must be considered as well.

In emergency scenarios, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds, so packaging must be able to be opened quickly and easily while remaining tamper-evident for optimal sterility.

Also, emergency rooms, field triage centers, and ambulances all thrust caregivers into hectic work conditions, making clear labeling a high priority.

Finally, emergency response in the field — both for ambulance operation and natural disaster response — necessitates packaging that effectively protects medical devices during transport and challenging operational conditions.

Key Packaging Considerations for Emergency Medical Devices

Medical.pngWorking medical professionals, including nurses and emergency medical technicians, understand the importance of high-quality, intuitive emergency device packaging.

During this year’s HealthPack “Voice of the Customer — Nurses and Technicians” panel, professionals in the field tested various medical device packaging options and offered feedback; the most common concerns were related to ease of opening and prominent labeling.

  • Ease of Opening

Easy-to-open packaging is important for all medical devices. Whether preparing for a major surgical operation or drawing blood as part of a patient’s annual physical, medical workers don’t want to struggle to open device packaging.

In those situations, inconvenient packaging is more of an operational nuisance; in emergency situations, however, difficult-to-open packaging can imperil patients and caregivers alike.

Every moment spent opening finicky packaging is a moment spent away from a patient.

Clear labeling is also critical; if providers cannot quickly and easily read packaging labeling, precious time may be wasted prior to administering medical services.

  • Ease of Transport

Medical device packaging must also be able to protect the product during transport. In most standard transportation scenarios — shipping from a manufacturer to a hospital, for instance — even the most basic packaging can provide adequate protection.

Emergency environments, however, call for sophisticated packaging solutions that allow providers easy access to critical medical devices.

Ambulances, for example, are more or less constantly in motion, and must sometimes traverse fairly rough or challenging terrain.

The same can be said of air ambulances. Medical device packaging for use in ambulances and air ambulances must account for the rigors of transportation, allowing products to remain safe and sterile for use at emergency sites.

Emergency response packaging design must also take into account the needs of even more extreme transportation modes; emergency response professionals like park rangers, search and rescue crews, and forest firefighters carry medical equipment in packs and carry cases — which are not always explicitly designed for medical purposes — into incredibly rugged or dangerous areas.

In these challenging circumstances, emergency medical packaging must be able to keep equipment safe and protected.

  • Tamper Evidence

Tamper evidence is another important factor for emergency response packaging. In all of the above-mentioned emergency scenarios, speed is key; every second is important when working to save lives.

Should a piece of emergency response packaging fail, thus contaminating the equipment, an ER nurse, EMT, or other emergency responder must be able to identify the failure quickly and easily.

Distinctive entry barriers or indicators must be included in the packaging design. 

Plastic Ingenuity’s Medical Device Packaging Solutions

Our engineers are working to design and test new varieties of medical device packaging. Our medical packaging services include developing emergency device packaging products that effectively protect medical equipment and maintain sterility without sacrificing ease of opening and use.

For more information about our medical packaging solutions, contact our medical packaging engineers today.

For additional resources related to our medical packaging services, download our eBook, "How the Top Pharma Brands are Effectively Using Automation." Inside, our automation engineers discuss tips to consider when designing your package for high-volume production.

Topics: medical device packaging, Medical packaging, Emergency medical devices, medical device packaging solutions