Successful Medical Packaging Design

by Todd McDonald on November 15, 2011

In an emergency room, time is everything – especially when it comes to medical device packaging. Struggling to open a package, spilling kit contents or misreading package labeling can actually be the difference between life and death. Clearly, medical packaging system design and validation are a critical element to patient safety.

To that end, one of the essential steps outlined in Karen Greene’s (LifePackaging Technology) 7 Essentials for Successful Packaging Design is the evaluation of similar or competing devices. In this white paper, Greene suggests that in addition to identifying your key competitors and/or comparable devices, you should “get yourself out into the clinical setting and determine what your target customers love and hate about these packages.” Greene also suggests asking customers to prioritize their top three requirements for a package, and even goes so far as to offer some ideas to examine. These include:

  • Labeling for product identification, directions for use, barcoding and inventory management requirements
  • Examination of existing storage systems for integration
  • Ease of use of package/device
  • Package size as it relates to storage and use
  • Packaging materials utilized (primary, secondary, tertiary packaging systems)
  • Is it imperative that the package is see-through and why?
  • Does the primary sterile barrier package impede removal and aseptic technique?
  • Does a coiled device present a significant hurdle to good clinical application because the device has taken an unacceptable “set”?
  • Does the package facilitate one-handed opening and removal?
  • If the device is a procedural kit, are all the expected and necessary components contained within the kit package?

At TEQ, we not only agree with this approach but we have some additional points we think are important to consider:

  • Is the package ISO 11607 compliant?
  • Does the package facilitate opening with gloves on?
  • Does the package defend against counterfeiting with distinctive packaging?
  • Does the package incorporate technologies such as RFID to facilitate inventory management?
  • Is the package easily recyclable, or made with sustainable materials?

Do you have any other considerations to suggest?

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