• Tearing of peel pouches is a universal problem when you can't peel it open. A nurse develops a sense of how to get certain items delivered to the sterile field without contamination.
• Surgeons with big hands have trouble opening small packs. Also, a surgeon wants to look at [the package] to see if he needs a 6-mm or 8-mm patch. If the label print covers the product, the pack has to be opened. If it's the wrong [size], you have to throw it out and open another one.
• Instructions for use are critical. The OR staff tries to keep people educated, but with 250 employees, it's hard to keep everyone up to date. We need step-by-step instructions.
• A lot of vendors have no earthly idea what our [OR] equipment does.
• We have a lack of storage space, so we need compact packaging. Some products we receive are loaded with peanuts that fall all over the floor and increase disposal costs.
Regarding waste in the OR, Koch said that last year she identified $60,000 in packaging waste. There's "not that much red bag waste in the OR," she told the HealthPack audience.
Koch praised Ethicon, the Johnson & Johnson medical device company, saying "Labeling is extremely important to us. Ethicon suture [packs] have some of the most consistent labeling. We may have 30 or 40 bins of sutures, and it's easy for us to zero in on the color-coded products [because their packages] have the size of the suture clearly printed, showing the product." [HCP]
By Jim Butschli, Editor