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Research and Development

Updated: May 9

At Eco Ninjas, we take pride in our products, in particular, our badge designs for their quality, safety, and aesthetic appeal. Over the last 2 years, we have conducted rigorous testing and research which helped us to rule out numerous other designs due to infection control concerns, longevity, and practicality.

Eco Ninjas Badge Hats

Our yellow badges with black text are highly visible and provide the best colour contrast so clinicians’ names and roles are easily readable. This colour contrast also supports staff and patients with both cognitive and visual impairments.

“With great innovation comes great responsibility”.

Thorough research and testing in healthcare product development are essential in ensuring the safety, efficacy, and quality of new healthcare garments intended for operating theatres to confirm that they are fit for purpose and can be used, ordered, and maintained easily and effectively.

Before a new product is introduced into the healthcare setting, it must undergo extensive testing to assess its safety profile. With our badge hats, this included evaluating potential risks and one which we identified was the badge falling off into the sterile field, so we had a ‘peel test’ conducted by TWI in Cambridge.

The results concluded that:

“The supplied badge and hat fastening system is suitable for its designed use as the badge can be separated and reattached to a clinical hat many times without a noticeable change in performance or risk of failure”.

  • Peel test results below:

Additionally, thorough research and testing play a vital role in maintaining the quality and reliability of healthcare products. Quality control measures, adherence to regulatory standards, and validation of manufacturing processes are all critical components of ensuring that products meet the highest standards of excellence.

By conducting comprehensive testing at every stage of product development, healthcare companies should identify and address potential issues before they reach the hospital.

Furthermore, proper research and testing can also contribute to cost- effectiveness in healthcare by identifying the most effective and sustainable products early in the development process, resources can be allocated more efficiently, reducing unnecessary spending on ineffective or unsafe products.

A frequent question asked by our customers is “can the badges be cleaned effectively without the detergent affecting the print or badge itself”? so we had a degradation test conducted to demonstrate how robust our badges are, after being exposed to various cleaning detergents common to healthcare settings.

The outcome determined that:

“The mechanical performance of the treated polyester badges was not affected by the exposure in the selected cleaning solutions”.

  • Degradation test results are below:

More recently, at the start of May 24, we had wash testing done by a commercial laundry company to determine that our hats:

  • 1) Did not tangle (hats with ties).

  • 2) Minimal colour fade was noticed.

  • 3) Fresh blood splatter, as well as dried blood splatter (after several days), was all washed out effectively with no change to the press studs or the hats.

Our test report will be available soon.

Without in-depth testing, the risks of unforeseen complications increase significantly, which could put patients at risk. Moreover, extensive research and testing are essential for determining the efficacy of healthcare products. To show the effectiveness of names and roles on reusable theatre hats, we had a case study written by a consultant anaesthetist who implemented our named theatre hats within her department, this case study was also added to the NHS England website and can be found on the link below:

  • Case study on personalised reusable theatre caps below:

One of our previous designs was a plastic pocket/window integrated into a fabric hat.

We believed that badges in the form of paper, cards, or laminated DIY badges could be simply slotted into the windows, but upon deeper inspection, we found that this prototype would not pass our quality test.

We also found that when laundering the window hats, moisture could easily get trapped behind the plastic which could develop into mildew- this was too high a risk in a surgical setting.

When investigating the commercial laundering aspect, the plastic windows cracked after washing and did not have great longevity at all, thus they would not be sustainable and would not offer a financially viable alternative to embroidered theatre hats and we didn’t want to produce sub-standard products with ‘unknown’ risks associated with them, so back to the drawing board we went!

Studies/research to validate the effectiveness of the product is also required because, without robust evidence of efficacy, healthcare providers cannot confidently use the product in clinical practice. Disposable theatre caps have been worn since the 1990s and are ‘considered’ to be better from an infection control perspective. One of the reasons for this is that disposables have a “reduced risk of cross-contamination”.

This is an interesting hypothesis because upon receiving the results of a microbial study which we performed with Birmingham University, one of the conclusions was that there were more microorganisms present on an unworn, disposable theatre cap than on a reusable cap which had been worn for a full 8-hour shift:

“It was confirmed that disposable hats can become contaminated when presented in an open box for users to dip their hands into. It is also possible that, as these hats are not marketed as sterile, they may also be microbially contaminated on receipt too”.

  • Microbial report below:

In the long run, investing in extensive research and testing can lead to better outcomes for patients and a more sustainable healthcare system. Patient safety, efficacy, quality, and cost-effectiveness all rely on the rigorous scientific evaluation of new products. By prioritising research and testing, we have created innovative solutions that truly make a difference for medical staff and the outcomes of patients while upholding the highest standards of care and integrity.

Balancing sustainable alternatives with potential infection risks can be difficult to do and we have delved deeply into discussions with many specialists to find solutions to challenges from all perspectives.

At Eco Ninjas, we have conducted a series of comprehensive of studies, some referenced in this post, which we hope will assist decision makers to implement the best products into operating theatres. We have been led by the outcomes of our research to manufacture the most sustainable and cost-effective products which we hope will make a positive impact.


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