FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention pertains to certain packaging articles that are color-coded for ease of identification when a consumer or user is selecting the articles for use. In particular, the invention relates to color-coded glove wallets and a method for fact identification of the kind of gloves contained therein by means of a color code.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Several different kinds of surgical gloves are used in operating rooms. The kind of surgical glove used is often dictated by both a desired level of protection or safety, as well as a desired level of manual dexterity and tactile sensitivity. As such, the choice of surgical gloves is an item decided by a surgeon preference, so several different brands and different kinds of gloves may be used during a single surgical procedure. Currently, once a surgical glove, for instance, is removed from its primary sterile package (i.e., peel pouch), and dispensed to the sterile field, it can be difficult for operating room (OR) personnel to quickly distinguish at a glance the different types of gloves, since the glove wallets, or inner wrapping, often are of similar or identical appearance. OR personnel often need to read the front of each glove wallet for its label. Coordinating a color code on glove wallets to their respective exterior peel pouch code can make identifying the proper surgical gloves easier for OR personnel. Currently, it is believed that no surgical glove manufacturer color codes the inner glove wallet to help identify the product.
The present invention provides a packaging system and a method for identifying surgical products once they have been removed from their primary protective packaging, but before actual use. This may be embodied in either a method or system for providing a means to identify products using color-coded indicia.
A method entails, in part, providing a surgical article within a primary protective packaging; removing said surgical article from said primary packaging, and coordinating colored indicia associated either on said surgical article or with a secondary, inner packaging with a color-coded identification system. The method may further comprise providing instruction to the final consumer or user about how to use the color-coded secondary packaging. The color-coded identification system involves a plurality of different colors, each color indicating a particular predetermined performance characteristic or physical property of said surgical article. The color-coded identification system may be either indicated on the primary protective packaging itself or on a separate chart. The indicia situated on the secondary packaging desirably are substantially similar in color to a color code on said primary protective packaging. The method may further involve placing the product, such as a surgical glove, a medical device, surgical instrument or applicator, on a sterile field. In such embodiments, the secondary packaging is adapted to be either a glove wallet or inner wrap. The method may further include coordinating a number of different product articles, each either having either a label or indicia of a substantially similar color to each other according to said color-coded identification system, to assemble a kit of associated products adapted for a particular use.
Alternatively, the method for identifying a surgical product once it is removed from its primary protective packaging, may involve: providing a surgical product within a primary protective packaging; removing said surgical product with an associated color-coded secondary packaging from said primary packaging, and coordinating the color of said secondary packaging with a color-coded identification system. The color-coded identification system can be used to identifies particular characteristics, such as physical size of said surgical product, performance or physical properties, or a combination thereof.
The invention also relates to a surgical article package having a primary, outer packaging, and a colored indicia associated either on a surgical article or with a secondary, inner packaging, said colored indicia is coordinated with a predetermined color code. The color code is either a label on said outer packaging or a separate color-coded identification chart. Colored indicia of the inner packaging desirably are either coordinated with a colored label or has substantially similar color to the label on the outer packaging. The colored indicia may include any one of the following: word or words, symbol, picture, graphic design, or a combination thereof. The outer packaging is a sterile tear or peal pack, or rigid tray.
The invention also envisions a color-coded surgical packaging system, the system having at least a first sterile packaging, and colored indicia associated either with a surgical article or a secondary, inner packaging around said surgical article. The colored indicia involve a plurality of different colors, each color indicating a particular predetermined performance characteristic or physical property of said surgical article. The color-coded surgical packaging colored indicia is coordinated with a color-coded identification system. Alternatively, we envision a color-coded surgical packaging system with a number of different product articles, labeled with indicia of a substantially similar color to each other according to a color-coded identification system, forms an assembly of associated products adapted for a particular use. In another variation, the system may also comprises a first and second packaging including a surgical article within; the first packaging having a colored label and the second packaging having colored indicia of substantially similar color and coordinated with said colored label of the first packaging.
In another aspect the invention describes a method for providing a system of identifying a product article once it is removed from its primary protective packaging, said method comprises: providing a surgical article within a primary protective packaging; providing a means to coordinate colored indicia associated either on said surgical article or with a secondary, inner packaging with a color-coded identification system.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES
Additional features and advantages of the present color indicator system, packaging, and associated methods will be disclosed in the following detailed description. It is understood that both the foregoing summary and the following description are merely representative of the invention.
FIG. 1 is an example of a coordinated color chart that can be used as a means for interpreting color-coded indicia on the packaging of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 2A-C are schematic illustrations, according to an embodiment of the present invention, of a typical inner package, commonly referred to as a glove wallet, which protects surgical gloves. FIG. 2A is a view of the package completely unfolded and laid out flat. FIG. 2B is a partially folded view of the package, and FIG. 2C is a three-quarter view of the final package, as it may appear just before use. As indicated by cross-hatching, for example, color indicia can be located on the package along an edge.
In its broadest aspect, the present invention relates to color indicators that are used with surgical articles, and the articles' associated packaging. The term “color,” as used herein, refers to the phenomenon of visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects. Colors may be expressed in terms of “hues,” i.e., the perceptible attribute of colors that permits them to be classified as red, yellow, green, blue, etc., or any intermediate between any contiguous pair of colors. A wide palette of colors can be used with the present inventions and particular set or arrangement of colors may be selected to indicate a desired or predetermined functionality in a color code system.
According to one aspect, the invention discloses a method for identifying a surgical article, once an article is removed from its primary protective packaging. If the article itself is not labeled or otherwise distinguished, it can be difficult for a user to differentiate its physical or performance properties. The method involves providing a surgical article within a primary protective packaging removing said surgical article from said primary packaging, and coordinating colored indicia associated either on the surgical article itself or with a secondary, inner packaging or wrap with a color-coded identification system. The color-coded identification system involves a plurality of different colors, each color indicating a particular predetermined performance characteristic or physical property of said surgical article. As used herein, the term “characteristic” or “property” refers to any distinguishing trait, quality, or properties of the article, for instance, an article's shape, size, texture, thickness, weight, material construction, absorbance or barrier properties, or other functional parameters. The color code could be manifested either as a label on the outer packaging or as a separate color-coded identification chart.
The colored indicia can include any one of the following elements: a word or words, a symbol, picture, graphic design, or a combination of the elements. It is desired that each of the colored indicia have a substantially similar color to a corresponding colored label on the outer packaging. Any kind or combination of colors can be used in developing a particular code for distinguishing the various articles. The color coding according to an embodiment can be implemented by printing the words of existing labels in the color of the desired, predetermined code. Alternatively, one may use a certain stripe or graphic design of a certain color on the packaging to indicate type of glove contained therein.
For many kinds of products, color-coded indicia is used on the outer transit case in the form of a color coded label, or on a dispenser box which may be totally color coded, an outer peel or tear pouch, that is color coded with a name and a bar. A wide range of other colors or combination of colors and designs or indicia may be employed in addition or substituted to indicate for as many different parameters as one may desire. For instance, color coding on surgical gowns is used to designate the level of protection the gown material provides.
The outer packaging can in certain embodiments be a sterile pack, which for example, one tears or peals apart, to access the surgical product immediately or an inner packaging, for example, a glove wallet. In certain embodiments, the color-coded secondary packaging substantially matches the color of the primary protective packaging. The secondary packaging can be used as a glove wallet, such as for protecting sterility of surgical gloves before donning. The color-coded identification system may be used to identify certain physical properties of a surgical article, such as physical size, or a combination of them. The surgical product or packaging can be placed on a sterile field. The method may further comprise providing instruction on how to use said color-coded secondary packaging.
Currently, for instance in the situation of surgical glove wallets, however, the color-coding scheme is, carried down to the peel pouch level, and unfortunately not carried through the inner packaging, or glove wallet. Rather, the final user encounters only black printing, which does not convey the color coded information to the final user. This is important because the final user is often not the same person who retrieves, opens, and prepared the gloves for donning. A reason for the color coding is to provide ease in identification on the back table when all the other packaging has been peeled away and they are left with just the gloves inside the wallet. During a single procedure there will be additional gloves pulled in case they need more. Several different types can be worn within one procedure based on the preference of the surgeons and staff. Therefore, if they need a new glove, the nurse needs to be able to quickly grab it to re-don a surgeon. By color coding they won't have to stop to read the wallet, they can quickly identify the required product thus saving time.
According to another aspect, the invention provides a surgical article package and packaging system that implements or embodies the method described above. The package in one iteration has a primary, outer packaging, and a colored indicia associated either on a surgical article or with a secondary, inner packaging, said colored indicia is coordinated with a predetermined color code. FIG. 1
illustrates, for example, a color coded indicator system adapted for several types of powder-free gloves made by Kimberly Clark Corporation, under the SAFESKIN® brand:
|Color ||Description ||Property |
|blue ||Standard natural rubber latex ||0.25 mm thickness at fingertip |
|orange ||Underglove ||0.19 mm |
|green ||Micro ||0.19 mm |
|brown ||Ortho ||0.32 mm |
The example demonstrates that a certain color is associated with a particular physical property, such as finger tip thickness, which a user may desire. (Associated cross-hatching is used to represent the presence of certain colors.)
FIGS. 2A-2C shows a typical glove envelope or wallet that may embody the present color coded system as described. In the embodiment of FIG. 2A, the wallet is shown as an open, unfolded sheet, with a colored stripe along what will become a folded edge of the envelope. FIG. 2B shows a face-on view of the wallet after folding and partially open, while FIG. 2C shows the same wallet from an outer, side view. A surgical article package may have a primary, outer packaging and a secondary, inner packaging, wherein the inner packaging has colored indicia coordinated with a label on the outer packaging.
The present invention also envisions the used of such packaging as part of a color-coded surgical packaging system, the system comprising a first and second packaging including a surgical article within; the first packaging having a colored label and the second packaging having colored indicia of substantially similar color and coordinated with said colored label of said first packaging. Alternatively in a surgical packaging system, the system comprises at least a first sterile packaging, and colored indicia associated either with a surgical article or a secondary, inner packaging around the surgical article.
The present invention has been described in general and in detail by way of examples. Persons of skill in the art, however, will appreciate that various changes, modifications, or equivalents can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described and claimed.