Ask any nurse what they think about a specific medical device and, positive or negative, they’ll give you an ear-full. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other medical professionals may have a lot to discuss regarding a device: how it was developed, tested, implemented, and any issues it has. What they could also talk about is how it is packaged and shipped. A medical product’s packaging is as important as the equipment itself. If things are not properly sealed or arrive damaged the product is useless and must be discarded. Here are three guidelines medical package testing centers use to ensure medical facilities receive their life-saving equipment in perfect condition.
1. Supply Chains
Each item, whether an artificial hip or a box of tongue depressors will be handled by both machines and people. Simulations are performed on each package and device to make sure it can withstand a range of vibrations, drops, compressions, and other rough handling situations.
2. Environmental Factors
Though most hospitals and offices have very controlled internal climates, the vehicles transporting them there, as well as emergency vehicles, don’t always have the same controls. Packaging must be able to maintain the correct temperature and humidity needed for each device. The design must also allow for package integrity to be maintained for two years, remaining sterile and safe until it is needed.
3. User Compatibility
Having a package that is sealed and sterile is necessary, but if it is too difficult to open by the user or if opening the package damages the product, then both the packaging and the device are useless. When medical packaging is designed, engineers consider who will be using the product. A surgeon may be able to have things carefully opened in a sterile room whereas an EMT must be able to access a product quickly in any environment.
So many considerations go into making and testing the packaging around medical devices. Device manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that the products that make it to patients remain safe and sterile through each step of the shipping process.