Duct tape improves infection prevention in hospitals
A hospital on the Illinois and Iowa border is using duct tape to revolutionise communications with its patients.
The Trinity Medical Center has used the adhesive tape to create a ‘Red Box’ safe zone just inside the door of the room.
This is a three foot square where doctors and nurses can stand to talk to isolated patients without coming into close contact with highly contagious or infectious patients.
According to the hospital, the duct tape safe zone has driven a saving of approximately US$110,000 in one year from unused gloves, masks and gowns.
READ MORE FROM THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK:
To read the latest edition of Healthcare Global, click here
- Scientists find ‘cure’ for the common cold
- Addiction centre planned in honour of Amy Winehouse
- Condom shortage in Britain prompts sexual health scare
It has also been estimated that around 2,700 working hours have been saved with the method as it has eliminated the need to change into personal protective equipment (PPE) for brief communications with patients.
A study into the benefits of the Red Box method was carried out by Trinity’s infection prevention team.
It found approximately 30 percent of all contact doctors had with isolated patients happened in the safe zone area.
Meanwhile, 67 percent of healthcare workers said the duct tape box had increased interactions between doctors and patients.
Just over 79 percent of healthcare professionals also said they thought the Red Box made liaisons with patients easier.
Janet Nau Franck, one of the authors of the study, said: “This is an innovative strategy that could be of great value to other hospitals.
“It costs as much as a roll of tape and yet pays off with significant savings in time, money and increased satisfaction for both patients and staff.
The results at the study have been presented at the 38th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The APIC president, President Russell N. Olmsted, said: “This is a simple but very effective mechanism to conserve resources and yet remain in touch with the patient.
“It can serve as a model for healthcare providers who strive to deliver better care and reduce costs.”
A guide to labelling compliance for medical devices
Small medical device manufacturers often find themselves scrambling to achieve the necessary compliance and validation, risking costly mistakes.
Validating systems and processes including labelling, to ensure they are compliant with stringent regulatory standards is tough and can be expensive. Indeed, compliance with the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will cost more than 5% of annual sales, according to 48% of 101 companies polled by the German company Climedo Health, in July and August 2020 about their MDR-readiness.
But if companies bungle the software validation process or put incorrect and uncompliant data on the labels themselves, the penalties are likely to be more severe than just making corrections. Health and safety may be put at risk and fines imposed for failing to comply. When it comes to compliance, they may become overwhelmed with regulations in other geographic regions that focus on device traceability, each with a unique device identifier (UDI-like) component to it.
On the validation front, companies may not be familiar with the software validation process and the multiple tests and documentation necessary for validation are demanding if companies only have a small IT team that is very busy.
Putting a plan in place
MDR-compliant labelling, however, brings with it certain requirements which differ from what is demanded under the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) system rules. Under MDR, for example, manufacturers must ensure the label specifically states the device is a medical one using an MD symbol in a box. This is only one of many stipulations that usually require redesigned labels.
Small medical device manufacturers who rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual or legacy labelling processes to facilitate these label updates run the risk of mislabelling which can lead to non-compliance. They may have limited staff and no structured processes around roles and responsibilities when it comes to label design, changes and approval. As project leads work toward a compliant labelling process, it is therefore important to establish defined roles and access for each stage of the process.
When dealing with a compliance initiative, up to date, correct and compliant labelling is imperative. This involves having all the relevant label design elements in place to comply with the EU MDR or FDA regulations. Many times, label templates are hard coded, meaning IT must be involved in making changes. And with IT staff often being tasked with multiple mission-critical projects in the organisation, labelling projects can be delayed. For many small medical device manufacturers who have limited resources, finding a solution can be a challenge.
Why labelling in the cloud offers a roadmap forward
Validation-ready cloud labelling solutions have now emerged to ease compliance with regulations and time-consuming validation requirements. These solutions, built with the needs of regulated companies in mind, digitise the quality control processes and facilitate compliant labelling with role-based access, approval workflows and electronic signatures. Outside of compliance, carrying out labelling in the cloud drives scalability and productivity for small medical device manufacturers and boosts overall efficiency.
The latest cloud labelling solutions integrate with other cloud solutions, allowing for seamless functionality and minimising the need for local infrastructure resources and cost.
When it comes to validation, as with many labelling systems, those hosted in the cloud have vendor-supplied documentation that streamlines the process and significantly eases the burden when it comes to installation qualification (IQ). The manufacturer itself has a much lighter burden and a streamlined path to a validated system and process.
A more relaxed software release schedule eases the validation burden on life sciences companies because the software is updated once a year rather than multiple times. This gives them a continuously updated and maintained labelling solution without increasing the validation workload on their IT staff.
The manufacturer would of course need to work closely alongside the vendor and review the documentation, but, if needed, the vendor is able to do much of the work for them, providing not only the full validation acceleration pack but also professional services to assist with the validation process.
While some medical device manufacturers choose to tackle validation on their own, the vendor supplied validation acceleration pack or documentation helps to simplify the process. Consultancy and advice around validation is usually available from the vendor, tailored to the business’s specific needs.
Given the immense hassles of compliance for small device manufacturers, cloud-based labelling systems offer the benefits of a full label management system while easing compliance and validation. This is a future-proof technology. With a cloud-based labelling system, medical device manufacturers can be confident that they are running the most up-to-date software, enabling them to address the fast-changing new regulations and cope with whatever comes their way. And especially in the current pandemic, when face-to-face meetings are still problematic, it is a perfect way to keep labelling operations moving forward.