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UC design innovation: New hope for the hated hospital gown
Date:5/14/2009

GOWN DESIGNS

With designs in place, Hill-Rom is currently examining the creation of the new gowns for the market, looking at manufacturing, marketing and demand. That research will take about a year.

According to UC's Welsh, the students taking on this project had to conduct in-depth business research before even starting the design process. This research was used to guide the entire project and its outcome.

"What we found," she explained, "is that there are millions of hospital gowns in use daily since patients often go through as many as five gowns per day. The current gown is produced for about $3 and lasts for about 40 uses [before it starts degrading due to torn ties, permanent stains, etc.] So, there's tremendous demand for hospital gowns and room in the market for alternate offerings."

This business research then guided the design process, with the students ultimately designing the "Progressive Recovery Collection" to be designed from "smart" textiles. The idea would be to offer more expensive gown options at a higher price point. It's a market position that is currently unfilled.

Welsh summarized, "There are a number of advantages to the UC designs created for Hill-Rom. It's a product collection designed to fit a varied population, to be aesthetically pleasing and to incorporate therapeutic qualities."

In addition, the UC students looked at preliminary ways to make the gowns available to target markets willing to pay something extra for the comfort and dignity of the improved designs. For instance, the items might be available online for pre-order in advance of a planned hospital stay.

Said Brandewie, "Items could be available online. Another idea is to have accessories in the gift shop of the hospital, for any patient or visiting loved ones to purchase. We thought that the patient could bring the separates home with them to keep and use in physical therapy."


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Contact: M.B. Reilly
mary-bridget.reilly@uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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