Title:
METHOD OF SELECTING OR IDENTIFYING A SURGICAL GOWN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and related system are provided for selecting a gown to be worn during a medical procedure according to a degree of barrier protection provided by the gown. A plurality of surgical gowns are provided having varying degrees of barrier protection. Each of the gowns is marked with visible indicia that indicates the degree of barrier protection of the respective gown. A comprehensive listing of information is provided on each of the gowns that indicates the different degrees of protection and corresponding indicia for all the gowns.



Inventors:
Shultz, Tod H. (CUMMING, GA, US)
Gerard, Patrice (COURT-SAINT-ETIENNE, BE)
Application Number:
12/489016
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
06/22/2009
Assignee:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (NEENAH, WI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/12; G09F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
IWAMAYE, ANDREW MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORITY & MANNING, P.A. (GREENVILLE, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for selection of a gown to be worn during a medical procedure according to a degree of barrier protection provided by the gown, comprising: providing a system of surgical gowns, the system having a plurality of surgical gowns with different degrees of barrier protection; providing visible indicia on each of the gowns that indicates the degree of barrier protection of the respective gown, the visible indicia being different for different levels of barrier protection such that gowns in the system having different degrees of barrier protection have a different visible indicia; and providing a listing of information on each independent gown that correlates all of the different visible indicia to the respective different degrees of barrier protection, the listing of information providing on each respective gown all of the different visible indicia and respective level of barrier protection associated with each visible indicia for all of the different gowns in the system such that a user of any one of the gowns is provided with an indication of the different degrees of protection available with other gowns in the system even when such other gowns are not visible to the user.

2. The method as in claim 1, wherein the listing of information includes at least one of a listing of surgical procedures suited for each different level of barrier protection or expected fluid exposure levels for each different level of barrier protection.

3. The method as in claim 1, wherein the listing of information is on an item removably attached to each of the gowns.

4. The method as in claim 3, wherein the listing of information also indicates the particular degree of protection of the respective gown to which it is attached.

5. The method as in claim 3, wherein the gowns are surgical gowns, and the listing of information is provided on a tie card attached to each of the surgical gowns.

6. The method as in claim 1, wherein the visible indicia on each of the gowns that indicates the degree of barrier protection of the respective gown is a color, with different colors corresponding to different degrees of protection provided by different gowns in the system.

7. The method as in claim 6, wherein the gowns are surgical gowns, and the listing of information is provided on a tie card attached to each of the surgical gowns such that all of the different colors are provided on each tie card in a manner that also correlates each color to its respective degree of barrier protection.

8. The method as in claim 7, wherein the different degrees of barrier protection are indicated pictorially on the tie cards such that a different pictorial representation of barrier protection is associated with each different color.

9. The method as in claim 6, wherein the colored indicia is provided on a distinct portion of the gowns that is generally visible from all sides when the gown is donned by a user.

10. The method as in claim 9, wherein the colored indicia is provided on at least one of a collar, cuffs, or tie string of the gowns.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a Divisional Application of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/141,367, filed May 31, 2005, which is a Continuation-in-Part (CIP) application of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/325,628 filed on Dec. 20, 2002.

BACKGROUND

Surgeons and other healthcare providers often wear an over garment during operating procedures in order to enhance the sterile condition in the operating room and to protect the wearer. The over garment is typically a gown that has a main body portion to which respective sleeves are attached. In order to prevent the spread of infection to and from the patient, the surgical gown prevents bodily fluids and other liquids present during surgical procedures from flowing through the gown.

Contamination could occur, for instance, if during surgery the surgical gown used is not sufficiently fluid repellant and becomes saturated with blood. This blood may be wicked through the surgical gown and may wet the under clothes and/or the skin of the healthcare provider. This penetration of fluid is sometimes referred to as “strike through”. Microorganisms present on the skin or under clothes may then be carried outward through capillary channels in the surgical gown to the surface of the gown, consequently contaminating the gown. Therefore, a liquid path through the surgical gown may be established along which viruses, bacteria, or other contaminants may travel to and/or from the patient.

Surgical gowns were originally made of cotton or linen and were sterilized prior to use in the operating room. A disadvantage of the materials used in these types of gowns is that they tend to form lint, which is capable of becoming airborne or clinging to the clothes of the wearer, thereby providing another potential source of contamination. Additionally, since these gowns were costly, laundering and sterilization procedures were required before reuse.

Disposable surgical gowns have largely replaced the linen surgical gown and many are now made in part or entirely from fluid repellent or impervious fabrics to prevent strike through. Various materials and designs have been used in the manufacture of surgical gowns to prevent contamination in different operating room conditions. As such, surgical gowns are available in a variety of different levels of protection and comfort.

Gowns made from liquid repellent material are well known in the art. This type of material is available in a wide range of “imperviousness”. While such completely impervious material provides a high degree of protection, a surgical gown constructed of this material is typically very heavy due to the weight of the material, expensive, and usually hot to the wearer. In some of these surgical gowns, certain portions such as the shoulders and back panels may be of a lighter weight material in order to provide for better breathability and help reduce the overall weight of the surgical gown. However, the higher the breathability of the material, the lower the repellency of the material. This in turn limits the use of the gown or the effectiveness of the gown in these particular areas.

Different types of surgical procedures expose the healthcare provider to various levels of blood and/or fluid exposure. As such, it is not feasible or economical to use the same type of surgical gown for every surgical procedure conducted by the healthcare provider. For instance, during surgeries that are shorter and/or have a low amount of fluid exposure, it may be desirable to use a surgical gown that is lighter in weight and is not completely fluid impervious. This selection allows for a less expensive gown to be used in addition to providing greater comfort and mobility to the healthcare provider. Also, this selection provides for a surgical gown that works for its intended purpose. On the other hand, surgical procedures that are longer and/or expose the healthcare provider to a large amount of fluid may call for the selection of a surgical gown that is completely fluid impervious. Additionally, other surgical procedures expose the healthcare provider to levels of fluid between these extremes, therefore calling for the selection of an appropriate surgical gown as the situation dictates.

Under the current practice, surgical gowns are typically placed in a package that has a brand name located thereon. Before beginning a certain surgical procedure, the healthcare provider may select a surgical gown based on the brand name of the surgical gown printed on the package. Additionally, the healthcare provider may make his or her selection based on prior experiences in using a particular surgical gown in a particular surgical procedure. Also, it may be the case that the healthcare provider does not read the labeling of the surgical gown in detail in order to ascertain which types of surgical procedures the particular surgical gown may be employed. Variations in strike through prevention between different surgical gown manufacturers exist, further complicating the selection process based upon brand recognition.

It is the case that current practices relating to the selection of a surgical gown to be used in a particular surgical procedure are not uniform across the healthcare industry due to the fact that healthcare providers select gowns based on brand names and their own personal experiences.

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has proposed a uniform classification system for gowns and drapes based on their liquid barrier performance. These procedures were adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and were recently published as ANSIA/AAMI PB70: 2003 entitled Liquid Barrier Performance and Classification of Protective Apparel and Drapes Intended for Use in Health Care Facilities, which was formally recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October, 2004. This standard established four levels of barrier protection for surgical gowns and drapes. The requirements for the design and construction of surgical gowns are based on the anticipated location and degree of liquid contact, given the expected conditions of use of the gowns. For example, the entire front of a gown intended for use in surgical applications, including seams and other components, is required to provide at least the minimum level of barrier performance (Level 1) defined by the standard. Because the back of a gown intended for surgical applications is expected to stay dry, the standard does not require a liquid barrier performance for that area. Gowns used in isolation applications have more stringent barrier performance requirements under the standard.

The ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard also describes that each surgical gown shall be prominently labeled with its class of barrier performance, and also that each package containing a surgical gown shall be prominently labeled with the class of barrier performance of each item that is contained in the package and has a barrier claim.

The ANSI/AAMI standard is to be commended as a significant step towards providing enhanced protection to health care workers. However, for the standard to serve its intended purpose, it must be implemented in a meaningful, user friendly, and efficient manner.

There is therefore a need in the art for a method that the healthcare provider may use in order to more accurately and/or consistently select a surgical gown for use in a particular surgical procedure.

SUMMARY

Various features and advantages of the invention are set forth in part in the following description, or may be obvious from the description, or may be learned from practice of the invention.

The present invention provides for a method of selecting a gown to be worn during a surgical procedure. The method includes the step of listing information that pertains to a plurality of surgical procedures in a first location. A plurality of gown identification marks are depicted in the first location, and each gown identification mark corresponds to at least one of the surgical procedures. Additionally, a plurality of surgical gowns are provided, the gowns are subdivided into groups where each group corresponds to at least one of the gown identification marks. The individual gowns in each group are marked with indicia. The indicia corresponds the gown to the gown identification mark of the group from which the gown is selected. Also, the method includes the step of selecting the gown to be worn during the procedure based upon any of the listing of information, the gown identification mark, and the indicia.

The present invention also provides for a method of selecting a gown for a surgical procedure. This method includes the step of displaying a listing of surgical procedures and a plurality of gown identification marks at a first location. The procedures are correlated to the marks. Also, a gown from a location remote to the first location is chosen that is suited for the procedure based upon indicia at the remote location that corresponds the gown to at least one of the gown identification marks or surgical procedures.

The present invention also provides for a method of identifying a gown. This method includes the step of providing information that corresponds a plurality of procedures to a plurality of gown identification marks. A surgical gown that is to be worn during a surgical procedure is provided. The gown is configured for being used with at least one of the procedures. Additionally, the gown is labeled in a manner that is substantially similar to at least one of the plurality of gown identification marks.

The gown identification marks used in the present invention may be symbols that are at least partially pictorial. In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, three different gown identification marks are used. Here, the first gown identification mark is a symbol corresponding to procedures having a first expected fluid exposure. The second symbol corresponds to procedures having a higher expected fluid exposure than procedures corresponding to the first symbol. Additionally in this exemplary embodiment, a third symbol is present and corresponds to procedures having a higher expected fluid exposure than procedures corresponding to the second symbol.

The present invention also provides for a method as described above where the listing of information is in the form of a chart. Further, gown identification marks in the listing of information may each be a combination of words and at least one image, in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

The indicia in accordance with the present invention may be located on the gown. For instance, the indicia may be located on the inside surface of the gown. Alternatively or additionally, the gown identification marks may be located at a second location that is a storage area that holds the surgical gowns. Also, the gown identification marks may be located on a package that holds the surgical gown.

In still other aspects, the present invention relates to a method and associated system for selecting a gown to be worn during a medical procedure according to a degree of barrier protection provided by the gown. A plurality of gowns having varying degrees of barrier protection are provided to healthcare workers for use in any number of medical procedures as a function of the desired degree of barrier protection called for by such procedures. The required degree of protection may be defined by industry or regulatory standards, such as the ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard. Each of the gowns is marked with visible indicia that indicates the degree of barrier protection of the respective gown. Unique visible indicia is associated with each of the different levels of barrier protection, and may include any one or combination of symbol, color, graphic design, phrase, etc.

Each gown also includes a comprehensive listing of information that indicates the different degrees of protection and corresponding indicia for all the gowns. This listing may be provided in any user friendly format, including graphical representation, chart form, pictorial representation, and so forth. The listing information provided directly with the gown offers a significant benefit in that it is readily visible and directly associated with an individual gown during the donning process. Wall mounted charts or other centralized indication of the protection level of the gowns are useful, particularly in initial selection of a gown, but it may be impractical to display such devices in all locations related to preparation and conduct of the medical procedure. With the information not being readily visible, personnel are left to rely on memory as to what level of protection corresponds to the different indicia. The present gown identification system and method address this drawback.

The listing information associated with each gown may be applied directly to the gown, or to an item attached to the gown. For example, the information may be stamped or printed directly onto the gown, or on an adhesive label that is attached to the gown. The listing information may be on an item that is removably attached to each of the gowns. In a particular embodiment, the listing information may also indicate the particular degree of protection of the gown to which it is attached (in addition to the visible indicia provided on the gown).

In a particularly useful embodiment, the listing information is printed or otherwise provided on a tie card attached to each of gown. With this embodiment, both the user and the person assisting in the donning process can readily verify that the correct type of gown is being used for the intended procedure.

In one embodiment, the visible indicia on each gown indicating the degree of barrier protection of the gown is a color, with different colors corresponding to different degrees of protection. The listing information would also display all of the colors and a clear indication of the level of protection associated with each color. With the tie card embodiment, all of the different colors are provided on the tie card in a manner that also correlates each color to its respective degree of barrier protection. This may be done pictorially, for example.

With a distinct color used as the visible indicia, it may be desired to display the color on the gown in a prominent location that is visible from generally all sides of the gown. For example, the color may be provided on the collar or cuffs of the gown.

Aspects of the invention will be described in greater detail below by reference to embodiments represented in the appended figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a listing of information used for selecting a gown to be worn during a surgical procedure in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of a gown identification mark in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The gown identification mark is used to identify gowns capable of being used with low levels of expected fluid exposure.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a gown identification mark in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The gown identification mark is used to identify gowns capable of being used with moderate levels of expected fluid exposure.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of a gown identification mark in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. This third gown identification mark is used to identify gowns capable of being used with high levels of expected fluid exposure.

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of a tie card that has printed information that further explains the method of selecting a surgical gown in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a gown having indicia attached thereto in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a gown having indicia located on the inside surface of the gown proximate to the collar of the gown according to one exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A is a detailed view of the circle labeled FIG. 7A in FIG. 7. The gown is shown as having a gown identification mark, a brand name, a gown size, and a gown product code located thereon in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a method of selecting a gown in accordance with the present invention. Here, a listing of information is located on a wall, and various stacks of gowns are located on a storage area and identified by a series of gown identification marks.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a gown in a package in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Here, a gown identification mark is located on the package into which the gown is held.

FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a listing of information that is to be used with the method of selecting a gown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a front elevation view of a listing of information that is to be used in accordance with the method for selecting a gown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Here, surgical procedures that correspond to various expected levels of fluid exposure are left blank and are to be filled in by the healthcare provider.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a tie card containing a listing of information of different gowns and respective levels of barrier protection, as well as the corresponding gown indicia.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a surgical gown incorporating the tie card of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, and not meant as a limitation of the invention. For example, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield still a third embodiment. It is intended that the present invention include these and other modifications and variations.

The present invention provides for a way of selecting a surgical gown that is to be worn during a surgical procedure. In order to carry out the method, a listing of information is provided. An example of one such listing of information 14 in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. Here, the listing of information 14 is in a printed chart format. The listing of information 14 includes a plurality of surgical procedures 12 that are categorized as having a certain degree of expected fluid exposure 38. The different degrees of expected fluid exposure 38 may be categorized, for instance, by the amount of fluid transferred to the healthcare provider during an operation, in addition to or alternatively with the total time of fluid exposure imparted to the healthcare provider during the operation. For instance, blood, saline, lavage, and/or saliva could potentially be transferred to the healthcare provider during the operation. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the expected fluid exposure 38 is divided into categories based on both the amount and time of fluid exposure. In other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the various degrees of expected fluid exposure 38 may be divided based on the amount of fluid exposure alone. For instance, less than 100 ml of fluid, between 100 and 300 ml of fluid, and greater than 300 ml of fluid may be used in order to categorize the various degrees of expected fluid exposure 38.

The listing of information 14 correlates the various degrees of the expected fluid exposure 38 to various surgical procedures 12. This correspondence may be made by taking the recommendations of different healthcare providers in determining the amount of expected fluid exposure 38 that is expected for a particular surgical procedure 12. For instance, in one exemplary embodiment of the present invention nurse consultants or other healthcare providers may be used in order to make the correspondence between the surgical procedure 12 and the expected fluid exposure 38.

It is not necessary to correlate the levels of expected fluid exposure 38 to the surgical procedures 12 based solely on the amount of expected fluid. For instance, in one exemplary embodiment of the present invention the expected fluid exposure 38 is correlated to the surgical procedure 12 based on various factors with the total expected fluid in the surgical procedure 12 being used only as a guide. In other instances, the amount of expected fluid is not even a factor. Various factors may be used such as the total fluid level, the duration, the operative site, the position of the patient, and the type of surgery whether minimal or traditional may all be factored in determining the amount of expected fluid exposure 38 for a particular surgical procedure 12.

The surgical procedures 12 may be listed as a particular surgical procedure 12, such as a C-section, or may be listed as a more general type of surgical procedure, such as eye and ear procedures. An example of particular and more general surgical procedures 12 are shown in FIG. 1 in which these various surgical procedures 12 are categorized as having low, moderate, or high expected levels of fluid exposure 38 based on both the amount and duration of fluid exposure.

From this information, gown identification marks 16 are assigned to each degree of expected fluid exposure 38. FIGS. 2 through 4 show one exemplary embodiment in accordance with the present invention of the gown identification marks 16 for particular levels of expected fluid exposure 38. FIG. 2 shows a first gown identification mark 18 that corresponds to low levels of expected fluid exposure 38 in FIG. 1. FIG. 3 shows a second gown identification mark 20 that corresponds to moderate levels of expected fluid exposure 38 in FIG. 1. Finally, FIG. 4 shows a third gown identification mark 22 that corresponds to high levels of expected fluid exposure 38 in FIG. 1. The first, second, and third gown identification marks 18, 20, and 22 differ from one another in that they have one, two, or three droplets, such as blood droplets, identifying a particular gown identification mark 16. Increasing the number of blood droplets, or other symbolic volumetric indication, allows a healthcare provider to more easily associate a particular gown identification mark 16 with a particular level of expected fluid exposure 38.

In accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, other designs for the gown identification marks 16 are possible, for instance, in one such exemplary embodiment higher numbers of blood droplets may be used for lower levels of expected fluid exposure 38 while fewer blood droplets are used for higher expected levels of fluid exposure 38. However, other objects besides blood droplets may be used. Also, the same type of object does not have to be used in all of the gown identification marks 16. Additionally, in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the gown identification marks 16 may be completely pictorial and have no text written thereon. Alternatively, the gown identification marks 16 may be completely written text, for instance the gown identification marks 16 may be “LOW”, “MODERATE”, and “HIGH” in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention. It is therefore the case that any design, word, color, or combination thereof may be used in place of the gown identification marks 16 shown in FIG. 1 as long as they differentiate the different levels of expected fluid exposure 38.

The listing of information 14 may also have a row listing a recommended gown example 24 for each of the different levels of the expected fluid exposure 38. The recommended gown examples 24 may be brand names of gowns 10 on the market that are capable of resisting fluid as described with respect to the amount of expected fluid exposure 38 under which the recommended gown example 24 is listed. The recommended gown example 24 therefore allows for a secondary way of identifying an appropriate gown 10 to be used with the surgical procedure 12.

The present invention also includes the step of identifying a gown 10, as seen in FIG. 6, with indicia. This indicia may be at least one of the gown identification marks 16. Although it is preferable to place the gown identification marks 16 on the gown 10, in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it is possible to identify the gown 10 without placing the gown identification mark 16 on the gown 10. It is only necessary under the scope of the present invention that the gown 10 be identified by one of the gown identification marks 16. It is not necessary that the indicia that identifies the gown 10 be exactly the same as the gown identification mark 16 on the listing of information 14. For instance, referring to FIG. 1, the gown identification marks 16 are shown as being one, two, or three blood droplets having a company name located proximate to the blood droplets, and being surrounded by a pair of circles. It may be the case that the indicia that identifies the gowns 10 only have the blood droplets and do not have the company name or circles as do the ones shown in the listing of information 14. It should be appreciated that any manner of indicia may correlate the gown 10 to the gown identification mark 16.

The gown 10 is known to have a particular amount of resistance to fluid. The gown is then identified using the gown identification mark 16 that corresponds the amount of fluid resistance in the gown 10 to the appropriate level of expected fluid exposure 38 as shown in FIG. 1. A plurality of gowns 10, made by different manufactures and having different degrees of fluid resistance, may then be labeled with the appropriate indicia.

The healthcare provider may view the listing of information 14 and find the particular surgical procedure 12 in which he or she is to be involved. From there, the particular surgical procedure 12 is correlated to a particular gown identification mark 16. The healthcare provider may then move to the location where the gowns 10 are stored and select the proper gown 10 as identified by the matching gown identification mark 16 being the indicia on the gown 10. In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the listing of information 14 is on a poster that is placed in clear view, for instance, near a scrub sink or other highly visible location. The surgeon and operating room staff may enter the scrub area and begin the hand scrubbing process, which last approximately three to five minutes. In this time the surgeon or operating room staff member will be able to view the listing of information 14 and understand the correspondence between the surgical procedure 12 he or she is about to participate in and the matching gown identification mark 16. As the surgeon or operating room staff member enters the operating room, a towel is taken and his or her hands are dried. At this point the surgical gown is selected or given to the surgeon or operating room staff member. The proper gown 10 may be selected based upon the gown identification mark 16 viewed in the listing of information 14.

The indicia which may be for instance the gown identification mark 16 may be placed on both the outside and inside 32 of the gown 10 as shown in FIG. 6. Alternatively, the gown identification mark 16 may only be located on one portion of the gown 10. The present invention includes exemplary embodiments where the gown identification mark 16 is placed in any number or at any location on the gown 10. FIG. 7 shows an exemplary embodiment where the gown identification mark 16 is placed on the inside 32 of the gown 10 at a location proximate to a collar 50 of the gown 10. As can be seen in greater detail in FIG. 7A, the indicia being the gown identification mark 16 is substantially the same as the third gown identification mark 22 as shown in FIG. 4. However, additional text is printed below the gown identification mark 16 as can be seen in FIG. 7A. This additional text may include the brand name 26 of the gown 10. Additionally, the gown size 28 and the gown product code 30 may be placed proximate to the gown identification mark 16. The gown identification marks 16 along with the brand name 26, gown size 28, and gown product code 30 may be stamped onto the gown 10 or may be on a label that is applied to the gown 10 through adhesion. This additional information helps to ensure that the proper gown 10 is selected by the healthcare provider. Additionally, other information may be printed next to the gown identification mark 16 in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

Although described as being printed on a poster as shown in FIG. 1, the listing of information 14 may be provided to the healthcare provider in other ways in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the listing of information 14 may be located on a computer, on a calendar, on a printed hand out, in a manual, or on an object such as a mouse pad. Additionally, more than one such listing of information 14 may be provided. For instance, several posters displaying the listing of information 14 may be positioned around the scrub area. Additionally, the present invention is not limited to having the listing of information 14 be located at a particular location such as near the scrub sink. The listing of information 14 may be located near the operating room or may be located away from the operating room or even outside of the hospital in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

The surgical gown 10 shown in FIG. 6 may be stored and/or presented to the healthcare provider in a number of ways. For instance, surgical gowns 10 are often located on a back table and are packaged and presented to the healthcare provider in a “book-fold” arrangement. In this type of arrangement, the inside 32 of the gown 10 is presented to the healthcare provider while the outside 48 of the gown 10 is largely contained inside of the folded gown 10. Hand pockets are located on each side of the folded gown 10 for receipt of the healthcare provider's hands. As the hands are lifted up and out, the gown 10 will unfold and fall into place on the healthcare provider's body. The “book-fold” arrangement therefore helps to ensure that the outside 48 of the gown is not contaminated prior to use in the surgical procedure. Such an example of a “book-fold” arrangement is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,862,525 to Tankersley et al. which is assigned to the assignee of the present invention, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes. The indicia being the gown identification mark 16 may be placed on the inside 32 of the gown 10 near the collar 50 as shown in FIG. 7. This allows for proper identification of the gown 10 with the surgical procedure 12 without having to unfold or touch the gown 10 in order to locate the gown identification mark 16. This in turn provides for a more sterile gown 10 than would otherwise be the case. By placing several of the gown identification marks 16 on both the outside 48 and inside 32 of the gown 10, it is possible to reduce the probability of contamination brought about by excessive handling of the gown 10. Additionally, the healthcare provider will be more quickly ready for the surgical procedure 12 by providing a clearly visible gown identification mark 16.

FIG. 9 shows the gown 10 being contained within a package 36. The gown identification mark 16 is located on the surface of the package 36, and not on the gown 10. This configuration is in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and eliminates the need of placing the gown identification mark 16 directly on the gown 10.

FIG. 8 shows another exemplary embodiment of the present invention where the gowns 10 are arranged in a first stack 54, a second stack 56, and a third stack 58 on a shelf 34. Each of the stacks 54, 56, and 58 are labeled with a respective indicia being the first, second, and third gown identification marks 18, 20, and 22. In this manner, the gowns 10 are identified without having the first, second, or third gown identification marks 18, 20 and 22 placed directly on the gowns 10. Additionally, the gowns 10 shown in FIG. 8 are contained within packages 36 that have the appropriate first, second, or third gown identification marks 18, 20, and 22 located thereon. In other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it may be the case that the gowns 10 also have one of the first, second, or third gown identification marks 18, 20, and 22 located directly on the gown 10. The arrangement in FIG. 8 therefore provides an easily identifiable stack of gowns 10 that are classified according to a particular first, second, or third gown identification mark 18, 20, or 22. The listing of information 14 is shown as being on a poster attached to a wall 52 and located above a shelf 34. It is to be understood that in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, that the listing of information 14 may be located at a location more remote from the gowns 10 as opposed to being located on the same wall 52 onto which the gowns 10 are located via the shelf 34.

The healthcare provider may employ the method of the present invention in much the same way as discussed above. For instance, the healthcare provider will identify the surgical procedure 12 in question and then will be able to note the corresponding first, second, or third gown identification mark 18, 20, and 22 that relates to the surgical procedure 12. At this point, the healthcare provider may take from the appropriate stack the corresponding gown 10 that is to be employed in the surgical procedure 12.

The indicia may be stamped onto the outside 48 of the gown 10. This allows both the wearer of the gown 10 and other healthcare providers inside the operating room to quickly identify the type of gown 10 being used by each person in the operating room. This may be beneficial when a surgical procedure 12 is being conducted and additional assistance is required or requested. Clear display of the indicia ensure that it is easy to identify and make certain that each healthcare provider involved in the surgical procedure 12 is adequately and properly protected.

Storage for the gowns 10 may vary from hospital to hospital. In some hospitals, the gowns 10 may be placed into a bin as opposed to being located on the shelf 34. In this instance, the indicia being for instance the gown identification marks 16 may be located on the bin in order to identify the gown 10. Additionally, the gown identification marks 16 may be placed on the gown 10 itself and on the package 36 in order to assist with the identification and selection of the gown 10. In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the gowns 10 are located inside of a vending machine. The vending machine may be provided with the gown identification marks 16 such that the healthcare provider may dispense the appropriate gown 10 for the desired surgical procedure 12.

In some instances, the gowns 10 are provided with a tie card 40 as shown in FIG. 5. The tie card may have a sterile section 46 and a non-sterile section 44. Tie strings on the gown 10 are connected to the sterile section 46, and an assistant (typically the scrub or circulating nurse) may grasp the non-sterile section 44 and pass the tie card 40 along with the tie string around the back of the gown 10. At this point, the assistant may hand off the tie string and/or the tie card 40 to the wearer of the gown 10. From here, the tie strings may be tied in order to properly secure the gown 10 and the tie card 40 may be thrown away. The tie card 40 in other instances may not be thrown away but may remain in and around the operating room and be used by operating room personnel for taking notes, that are written on the tie card 40. One such example of a tie card 40 known in the art is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,982,448 to Kogut the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

The tie card 40 provides another medium by which information about the surgical gown selection procedure may be communicated to the healthcare provider. For instance, printed information 42 as shown in FIG. 5 that relates to the method of selecting a gown 10 in accordance with the present invention may be printed on the tie card 40. The printed information 42 may be so placed in order to further acquaint the healthcare provider with the correspondence between the gown identification marks 16 and the various levels of expected fluid exposure 38. Alternatively, the tie card 40 may be provided with the particular indicia used to identify the gown 10 onto which the tie card 40 is attached. Although shown as being located in the non-sterile section 44 of the tie card 40, the printed information 42 may be located on either the non-sterile section 44 and/or the sterile section 46.

FIG. 10 shows an alternative exemplary embodiment of the listing of information 14 in accordance with the present invention. Here, different surgical procedures 12 are listed on the listing of information 14 as compared to the surgical procedures 12 listed in FIG. 1. As such, the present invention is not limited to a particular correspondence between the surgical procedures 12 and the levels of expected fluid exposure 38. Additionally, more than one listing of information 14 may be used in accordance with the present invention. For example, a particular listing of information 14 may have surgical procedures 12 that relate to eye and ear procedures while a different listing of information 14 has surgical procedures 12 that are classified as cosmetic surgeries.

Although as shown in the form of a chart in FIG. 10, the listing of information 14 may be set up in other arrangements in order to correspond the gown identification marks 16 to the surgical procedures 12 and the levels of expected fluid exposure 38. For instance, the listing of information 14 may be in graphical form or may be only a listing of various surgical procedures 12 and corresponding gown identification marks 16. It is therefore the case that in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention that the row including the expected level of fluid exposure 38 is not included in the listing of information. Additionally, the row and information concerning the recommended gown examples 24 is not necessary in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11 shows an exemplary embodiment of the present invention where the listing of information 14 is not completed prior to delivery to the healthcare provider. In this instance, the surgical procedures are provided with a plurality of blanks 60. The healthcare provider may fill in the blanks 60 as he or she sees fit in corresponding the surgical procedures 12 to the expected level of fluid exposure 38 and the corresponding gown identification marks 16. This is due to the fact that different hospitals or surgical units have different views as to what type of gown 10 is appropriate for a particular surgical procedure 12. For instance, some healthcare providers or hospitals may be more conservative in selecting gowns 10 that are sure to provide the level of fluid resistance necessary in all instances, while other hospitals or healthcare providers are more liberal in selecting the gowns 10 so that benefits other than fluid resistance are employed.

In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the gown identification marks 16 may be applied to the gowns 10 such that the hospital or healthcare provider is free to mark the gown 10 with the desired gown identification mark 16. This also allows for flexibility in selecting the gown 10 based on the hospitals or healthcare provider's view of the gown's 10 ability to resist fluid. In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, some of the surgical procedures 12 may be listed in the listing of information 14 while other surgical procedures 12 are added by the hospital or healthcare provider. However, it is to be understood that in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the listing of information 14 is provided complete to the hospital or healthcare provider along with the indicia already identifying the gowns 10.

Although described as having three different identification marks 16 to correspond to three different levels of expected fluid exposure 38, it is to be understood that in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention that the surgical procedures 12 may be categorized into different levels of expected fluid exposure 38 in degrees other than three. For instance, two different levels of expected fluid exposure corresponding to two different gown identification marks 16 may be used in one exemplary embodiment of the present invention while in another, four different levels of expected fluid exposure corresponding to four different gown identification marks 16 may be used.

FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate various other aspects of a system and method according to the invention for selecting a gown 110 to be worn during a medical procedure according to a degree of barrier protection provided by the gown. The gown 110 includes visible indicia 112 that indicates the degree of barrier protection of the respective gown. The indicia is a unique symbol, color, design, graphic or pictorial representation, or the like, associated with a particular level of barrier protection. In the illustrated embodiment, the indicia 112 may be a unique color incorporated into the collar 150, the cuff 132, the tie cord 133, or any combination of elements. With a distinct color used as the visible indicia 112, it may be desired to display the color on the gown 110 in a prominent location that is visible from generally all sides of the gown, such as the collar 150, cuff 132, or tie string 133.

Each gown 110 also includes a comprehensive listing of information 114 that indicates the different degrees of protection and corresponding indicia 112 for all the gowns. This listing 114 may be provided in any user friendly format, including graphical representation, chart form, pictorial representation, and so forth. The listing information 114 associated with each gown 110 may be applied directly to the gown, or to an item attached to the gown. For example, the listing information may be stamped or printed directly onto the gown 110, or on an adhesive label that is attached to the gown 110. Such a label or printing may contain the same or similar information as presented on the tie card 40 illustrated in FIG. 5. The listing information 114 may be on an item that is removably attached to each of the gowns 110, such as a removable label or the like. In a particularly useful embodiment, the removable item may be the tie card 40 of FIG. 5, or the tie card 140 of FIG. 12. In a particular embodiment, the listing information 114 may also indicate the particular degree of protection of the gown 110 to which it is attached (in addition to the visible indicia 112 provided on the gown 110).

In the embodiment of FIG. 12, the listing information 114 displayed on the tie card 140 includes a pictorial cross-reference to the different colors used for indicating different degrees of barrier protection. In this case, the overall system distinguishes between three different levels of barrier protection, and a unique color is assigned to each different level of protection. The tie card 140 functions as a “color key” to the system and includes a section that clearly presents each of the colors, as well as a graphic or pictorial representation of the three different levels of gown protection. A first section 118 displays a first color 121 and a first pictorial gown representation 120 indicating the maximum level of protection for gowns in the system. A second section 122 displays a second color 123 and a second pictorial gown representation 124 indicating an intermediate level of gown protection. A third section 126 displays a third color 127 and a third pictorial gown representation 128 indicating a minimum level of gown protection. It should be appreciated that any combination of symbols, designs, pictures, and so forth may be used to indicate the respective levels of gown protection. The gown symbols 120, 124, and 128 are useful in that they clearly distinguish the actual areas of protection on the respective gowns.

The embodiment wherein the listing information 114 is provided on a removable item associated with the gown, such as the tie card 140, and also indicates the particular degree of protection of the gown 110 to which it is attached, provides additional benefits. For example, a post-operative accountability of the gowns 110 used for a particular procedure is possible by collecting and inventorying all of the cards 140. With this system, trends in gown usage and procedural adherence can be analyzed over time. The name of the gown user may be written onto the tie card 140, or other removable listing of information, at donning of the gown, and thus individualized information may be collected and analyzed for various uses.

It should be understood that the present invention includes various modifications that can be made to the embodiments of the selection method described herein as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.