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Industry Trends
March 14, 2019

HealthPack 2019, Unpacked: Be a Unicorn + More


Whether you were there in person or stayed at the office, we’ve got Cliff’s Notes for the knowledge explosion that happened at HealthPack 2019 in Anaheim.

Be a Unicorn

Presenter: Laura Bix, PhD, is Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning and Academic Analytics at Michigan State University School of Packaging

Dr. Laura Bix caught every packaging engineer in the house off guard when she advised, “Be the unicorn!” as part of her kickoff keynote. We quickly came to embrace her call. We saw how magic can happen by challenging packaging design norms and daring to share ideas that make colleagues say, “What?” Bix urged us to remember that self-censoring can hinder breakthroughs. She reminded us that packaging is more than a commodity. Straying from the tried-and-true approach may lead to strong value propositions, even if at first blush, an idea appears to increase cost or reveal you as a mad scientist.

Saving Time to Save Lives

Presenter: Aditya Nallur, Staff Engineer, R&D Packaging, Stryker Neurovascular

Another clear winner came from Addy Nallur, whose case study centered around a kitted combination of products (Procedure Packs) for treating stroke victims. He showed the criticality of this application, and how many ways packaging engineering decisions directly impact patient care. It’s well known that with a stroke, even seconds spent searching for the correct devices can severely impact patient outcomes. From carton design, content labeling and workflow efficiency to distribution site training and lessons learned, Nallur’s presentation inspired. As engineers, it was a reminder as to why we consider every detail and an assignment to innovate. It’s motivating to see how our best work delivers life-changing solutions.

Recycling Flexible Packaging Material

Presenters: Tristan Steichen, Project Manager, Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council
Nicholas Packet, Packaging Engineer, DuPont

When your brain hears a macro challenge like “world peace” or “global environment,” it replies, “Oh man, that’s more than I can take on,” and deprioritizes the input. Fortunately, Tristan Steichen and Nicholas Packet effectively scaled down the “global environment” input into a compelling micro-view, both on point—and actionable. First, they shared practical challenges faced by hospitals (for collection) and recyclers (for handling). Then, they used key data and strategies for recyclability and end-market applications to give us a baseline from which we could act across industry to positively impact the future with recycling healthcare plastics.

A Fireside Chat with the FDA

Presenters: Rod Patch, Senior Director, Packaging CoE, Johnson & Johnson, Moderator and Patrick Weixel, Acting Deputy Office Director of Patient Safety and Product Quality, Food and Drug Administration

Everyone present loved this 60 Minutes-style interview of the FDA’s Patrick Weixel, led by Rod Patch. The questions presented gave us a casual, open discussion on the importance of the FDA guidance and the role it plays. Its primary function is to ensure patient safety. It does so by dispensing evidence-based guidance that supports its objective, while also supporting the needs of industry. The preso reminded us that instead of being the neighborhood bully, the FDA is there to protect people, plain and simple. Instead of thinking “The FDA could mess up our plan,” we walked away seeing them for what they really are: guardians, white hats and good cops for all of us to support in turn.

Getting Your Ideas Heard: 7 Tips for Packaging Engineers

Presenter: Jenn Goff, Director of Product Marketing, Oliver Healthcare Packaging

A perennial HealthPack favorite, Jenn Goff once again wowed with practical examples to help packaging engineers earn critical buy-in for new projects. Jenn shared from personal experience that her willingness to “be a unicorn” led to green lighting on an essential remediation project. She offered seven key tips to influencing and clearly outlined how to maximize each. She also played devil’s advocate, offering tips to gauge when there is not sufficient interest for an idea (and what to do), coached on authentically presenting a strong business case and nailing your elevator pitch. See Jenn Goff’s tips.

In the Mind’s Eye of Your Customer: Mobile Eye Tracking

Presenter: Dr. Javier de la Fuente, Assistant Professor, California Polytechnic State University

An exciting discussion of a mobile eye tracking case study! This is when the digital age is at its most compelling. Dr. de la Fuenta’s case study dug into the packaging usability of ER combination drug products. Attendees saw how study parameters had been designed, and learned eye-tracking metrics and analysis for effective interpretation. See the case study

ISO 11607 and ISO TS 16775—The Way Forward

Presenter: Thierry Wagner, Regulatory Affairs Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa, DuPont Medical and Pharmaceutical Protection

Thierry Wagner did a remarkable job clarifying all ISO updates, including: changes made effective in the last year, intended outcomes, and new requirements related to the upcoming MDR. He also shared details regarding new SBS symbology and usability, with plenty of practical applications for most members of the audience. Relevant knowledge shared will help every attending engineer with the newest compliance considerations. See ISO TS 16775

Watch for more in our HealthPack 2019, Unpacked series, with upcoming posts from the Nurse and Tech Panel and Packaging Validation Process and Design panel featuring Packaging Compliance Labs’ own Ryan Erickson, VP Packaging Engineering.

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