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MSU event to demonstrate how packaging impacts health outcomes

Healthcare Packaging Immersion Experience (HcPIE) creates learning experience with simulated ER and home healthcare learning experiences.

This is a photo of a control room overlooking one of the MSU HcPIE simulations.
This is a photo of a control room overlooking one of the MSU HcPIE simulations.

The scene of a tragic accident, a dramatic OBGYN delivery, and the newest phenomenon of patients caring for patients in home environments are just some of the contexts of care that medical device manufacturers and packaging designers will explore during this year’s Healthcare Packaging Immersion Experience (HcPIE).

Michigan State University’s School of Packaging will again team up with the accredited healthcare simulation facility, the Learning and Assessment Center (LAC) to host its third event for medical device professionals and healthcare practitioners. The event, running Oct. 2-3, 2013, will be held at the James B. Henry Center in East Lansing, MI, with dinner held overlooking Spartan Stadium on the evening of the 2nd.

Previous events, held in 2010 and 2011, received rave reviews from attendees. One attendee indicated that it was “the best packaging seminar, learning experience, and networking event that I have ever attended.”

The event is designed to allow senior-level medical device packaging professionals access to cutting-edge research and experience the contextual performance of medical packaging in varied contexts of care. Participants have engaging conversations regarding packaging challenges and possible solutions with nurses and doctors.

Conference highlights include the following:

• Speakers slated for leading sessions include: Kevin Smith, a Logistics Management Specialist and Master Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps (ret); Global Marketing Director for DuPont Medical and Pharmaceutical Protection on the HPRC Initiative, and Nicole O’Connell of the British Standards Institute (BSI)

• The audience will be immersed in simulations—Attendees will gown and glove to get the full experience of using some of the packages they design. Further, they will have the opportunity to practice aseptic technique. Those able to successfully present their devices to the sterile field will compete for an opportunity to be a caregiving family member during our home health simulation.

• Prehopsital simulation—Attendees will be immersed in an accident scene in which a father and his pregnant daughter must react as seconds count.

• OBGYN simulation—A simulated delivery will occur as the trauma of the first simulation induces preterm labor in the daughter and a dramatic delivery.

• Home health simulation—Research suggests (Coleman, 2003) that 80% to 90% of long-term care is provided by family members, who have reported that they regularly assist with mediation, administer IVs/injections, help with assistive devices, wound care, monitors, and medical equipment. This simulation will provide insights into the stress and difficulty caring for a loved one can impose and how product/package design can aid or hinder this burden.

• Incredible journey of a patient (from emergency to home health)—Attendees will gain insight into the roles and expectations of the varied providers, from the prehospital environment to emergency, pre-op, intra-op, post-op ward care and home health. Design factors of great importance in one environment may have limited value in others. Understand what is needed and valued by all.

"Our goal is to provide a bridge between the people designing and manufacturing the devices and packaging and the real world," says Laura Bix, Associate Professor at the Michigan State University School of Packaging. "It's important to know how what you as a packaging engineer produce impacts health outcomes." This unique education experience will show you what aspects you must consider when designing devices and their packages.

MaryKay Smith, Director of MSU’s LAC concurs, "Packaging engineers and manufacturers are, generally speaking, not physicians or technicians in either the emergency or the operating rooms," Smith said. "Simulations provide an opportunity to evaluate how devices work—and don't—in a safe environment. Ultimately, this can lead to better quality patient care."

MSU is the only university in the world to bring together faculty members from colleges of Human Medicine, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and a School of Packaging, so it is logical that the institution host an event like this.

"We want to know how all the different elements come together to create a situation that is optimal or not in order to work together to, literally, save lives," Bix says.

In addition to MSU, the conference is sponsored by DuPont, Rollprint, Thermoform Engineered Quality (TEQ), Neenah Paper, Glenroy, and Oliver-Tolas Healthcare Packaging.

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