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Simplifying assembly of Personal Protective Equipment

As of the beginning of October, 382 health-care workers have been infected by Ebola in West Africa and 216 of them have died. Many estimate that this exposure can be partly explained by incomplete Personal Protective Equipment available to health care workers or incorrect assembly of the various pieces . We might find inspiration to address this issue in a recent project that aimed to provide people in developing countries access to all the gear they need to hold a TEDx event. The result provides people in vastly different contexts all the tools they need in a clear, concise, color-coded kit to assemble the finished product. Might this provide inspiration for how we better communicate effective donning and doffing of PPE?

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "exposure of health-care workers ... continues to be an alarming feature of this [the Ebola] outbreak." Health care workers (HCWs) are among those most likely to become infected as they examine patients, draw blood, clean them and clean up bodily fluids. Here is a link to the CDC's instructions and sequence for putting on and taking off PPE: But can innovations be made to this that might help prevent health care worker exposure to the virus? How can instructions transcend languages, cultures, and different operating contexts? How can we be sure that all necessary pieces of PPE remain together so that health care workers can always be sure to have all the pieces of PPE they need to adequately protect themselves from exposure?

Perhaps if we create easily replicable, simple, easy to understand kits that provide the entire PPE set, complete with numbered pieces that indicate when each piece should be put on and in what order, might lessen the possibility for exposure to the virus. 

Let's take a look at the  Tedx-in-a-Box project - a toolkit with all the gear needed to host a TEDx event in the developing world — projector, speakers and more, packed in a shippable box. The TEDx in a Box program launched last year, powering events throughout the developing world, enabling local people to receive and assemble complex equipment.

The result, TEDx in a Box 2.0, is a multi-use organizational system with color-coded, icon-specific graphics that make it easy to set up a TEDx event anywhere. The box includes a projector, a PA system, a DVD player, a battery and inverter, two camcorders and a tripod, a power strip and an SD card. The Quickstart Guide guides the event organizer to charge the system, set it up to watch a TEDTalk and host live speakers, with or without slides.

Take a look at the video and let's discuss:

How might we simplify an otherwise complex procedure such as putting on and taking off personal protective gear, minimizing possibility of front-line health care workers' exposure to the disease?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Raul Villaseca

Hi Jamie:
When trbajamos in hospitals, we went through a period of training. Placing or removing clothes is a routine that can not be altered. No number is needed, should be practiced and will practice.


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