Why Reinvent the Isolation Gown?
Guest Post by Michael Benko, Owner, Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC
Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC was created to solve the problems that we saw in the Healthcare community when the world was introduced to the pandemic know as Covid-19. Prior to Covid-19 disposable isolation gowns were the norm. They were cheap, readily available, and the demand was low enough, that no one thought about the use of disposable isolation gowns as a primary focal point.
Materials management, Supplies Directors, Purchasing Executives, Hospital Executives and the like, went about their daily tasks of ordering what they needed when they needed it. The status quo worked. Why rock the boat if there isn’t a need?
Then COVID-19 came along and shocked the healthcare community to the core. Hospitals were overrun. Demand skyrocketed for all PPE, including disposable isolation gowns, and so did the prices. The entire world was in a battle to source effective, compliant PPE.
In addition to the need for more supply, political tensions heated up and international sourcing became even more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. The available supply of all PPE equipment dried up almost overnight, as the need continued to climb along with the positive cases of Covid-19. This is when what we call, ’Crisis-Mode” occurred.
Nurses, doctors, hospital staff members, and HCPs were using whatever they could find to act as PPE. HCPs tried desperately to find new ways to protect themselves and their patients with limited supplies of isolation gowns, face masks, headcovers and almost all other types of disposable PPE equipment.
The FDA and Joint Commission even started to allow healthcare workers to reuse disposable PPE equipment and coined it “Conservation Methods”. Something that has never been done in the past, due to the risk involved.
On August 14, 2020, that statement has since been retracted and facilities must now use 1 gown/patient/visit. Increasing, once again, the number of disposable isolation gowns that will be needed.
Something had to be done. That is why Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC was created.
Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC didn’t invent the reusable isolation gown, but we did RE-INVENT the reusable isolation gown. In fact, we like to think that Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC perfected the reusable isolation gown.
Most isolation gown users do not like utilizing a reusable isolation gown for multiple reasons. One due to the inefficiency of donning and doffing, having to untie the gown in 2 separate places in hard-to-reach locations, often after being ‘contaminated’.
Another reason is comfort. Most reusable isolation gowns are created with the least expensive material the manufacturer can find. They are heavy, hot and stiff. Quite often the fit is less than optimal as well. This leads to an increase in non-compliance and possible accidental contamination.
The patent-pending EZ-USE design of the Green Leaf Medical Solutions Level 2 (ANSI/AAMI PB70), reusable isolation gown solves these issues and more. The design of the EZ-USE Isolation Gown allows for SAFE, single person donning and doffing, and is as easy as tearing off a cheap, less effective disposable isolation gown.
The 100% polyester material is the best in the business, with a tight weave that gives the EZ-USE Isolation Gown, a soft, cool, comfortable feel. It looks professional and end-users love to wear it.
As an added feature, Green Leaf Medical Solutions designed a novel and unique thumb hole that is unparalleled in the isolation gown market. This unique thumbhole design allows for easy access to insert the thumb while donning the gown.
As an added level of professionalism, any healthcare facility, hospital, workforce, or company can add their logo to the EZ-USE Level 2 Reusable Isolation Gowns at no extra charge. This adds a level of professionalism and uniformity to all who see it.
While attempting to solve the availability issues that Covid-19 brought to the healthcare community, Green Leaf Medical Solutions had to do something that very few companies are willing to do. And that was to create a MADE IN THE USA product.
We decided that every single part and piece, from the fabric weaving, to the cut and sew operations, had to be done in our own backyard. The fabric is produced in the state of North Carolina, and the manufacturing of the EZ-USE isolation gown is done in Georgia. Both within a stone’s throw from our headquarters in the great state of South Carolina.
We are truly MADE IN THE USA, and we are very proud of that fact. This allows the ‘lead time’ to be very short. And provides a supply chain that is far shorter, and In most situations, we can deliver up to 10,000 brand new, premium, EZ-USE level 2 reusable isolation gowns per week, with as little as 2 weeks of lead time.
EZ-USE Reusable isolation gowns allow for up to 50 washes before having to be retired. Once you have an order of them in rotation at your facility, you will always be only one laundry day away from a fresh, clean batch of isolation gowns.
Compare that to the number of disposable gowns that you need to use on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. EZ-USE level 2 reusable isolation gowns give you the confidence that you will never run out of critical isolation gowns again.
But what about the cost? We would be foolish to create a product that no one can afford. Yes, the cost to produce in the USA is more expensive than overseas production. Yes, the usage of premium materials has its price as well. That’s where the beauty of mathematics comes in.
With the EZ-USE reusable isolation gown, you are able to reuse it up to 50 times vs. a disposable isolation gown only being able to lawfully be used once. When you divide the cost per gown, by the number of uses, and add in the cost to launder, the cost per use is around $0.83 cents.
The current cost of disposable isolation gowns is still elevated from pre-COVID pricing and can be as high a $2.00+ per gown. Even at pre-COVID pricing for disposable isolation gowns, the EZ-USE Reusable Isolation Gown is still a BARGAIN!
Still, even after all of that, there is one more factor to take into consideration. In our mind, the most important part is the environment.
The healthcare system in North America alone disposed of an estimated 5 million tons of single-use plastic/polymer items into our landfills last year. That is 10 BILLION pounds. That’s right, Billion… with a B!
As an added step and to further support our commitment to a sustainable environment, Green Leaf Medical Solutions is partnering with a 3rd party organization to take back all EZ-USE isolation gowns after they are retired. They will then repurpose the entire gown and reuse the created fabric. This is as a closed-loop, near-to-ZERO-WASTE cycle as possible.
We may not be able to single-handedly alter the course of the environment. But together, we can be part of the SOLUTION, instead of being part of the problem. As an added incentive to facilities choosing the path less traveled, the GREEN path, we offer 5% discounts on all future orders once the majority of the total EZ-USE gowns originally purchased are returned to the repurposing facility.
That is the story of Green Leaf Medical Solutions, LLC. This is why we do what we do. Our goal is to help the healthcare community be safe, be prepared, look professional, feel good, be confident, save money, and do their part to help save this amazing planet.
About the Author: Michael J Benko
Michael has spent the last 21 years working in healthcare. After graduating from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he spent the next decade helping patients to do more, feel better and live longer with GlaxoSmithKline. Next, he worked directly with patients who have type 1 diabetes at Novo Nordisk and Tandem Diabetes Care. Recognizing a need in the industry, he decided to move on to the next chapter with his partner John Ross, to help healthcare systems increase safety, decrease cost, all while making less of an impact on our planet for future generations. With two young children of his own, his passion is helping the medical community do less damage on the Earth, by creating a product that does no damage*.
You can reach Michael at email@example.com