Surgical Drape Innovation

Client: Cardinal Health

Team: Maxine Fang, Wesley Fullen, Eugene Hoban

Date:  Fall 2019



“Surgical team members should be involved

in the selection process of drapes to be used in the OR.”


-Standard of Practice IX, Association of Surgical Technologists

Key Findings

  • Surgical drapes must be fitted not only for the patient but also for the OR team

  • Once there is a problem with the drape it is no longer a commodity, becoming part of the unwanted experience

  • Unique patient profiles add variables and complexity to OR prep & surgery

2nd Design Sprint


Through the review of trade journals, industry websites, videos of surgical procedures, and of setting up operating rooms, we identified three areas of opportunity specific to the focus of handling and placing patient drapes: Addressing Drape Interactions/Failures, Empowering End-User Co-Design and Increasing Supply Chain Agility. 


The team created a set of supporting tools that would help in facilitating the workshop and with the help of the participants the team uncovered key information to start our service design for the next sprint. We engaged in a co-design workshop with stakeholders to identify the wants, needs and expectations of a possible service. 


The results of the design sprint helped us outline the essential characteristics of the new service: 


  • Time Savings: The service has the ability to take the workload load off OR team

  • Preference Sharing: Involve surgical team members in the drape selection process by sharing preferences

  • Customization: The customization that the service provides, can address the unique surgery needs

3rd Design Sprint

Our team used the information gathered from design sprint to storyboard a possible service proposal. During our final design sprint, we presented the three parts of the service proposal; Information Gathering, Production, and Application, to the participants. Using their feedback, our team incorporated their feedback into our final service proposal for presentation. 

Solution and Value 


What if Cardinal Health could provide the ability to order custom manufactured surgical drapes that fit the surgery while having the ability to gather, store and share the operation data and preference?


The concept is to integrate an on-demand customized patient drape maker in the process of preparing for surgery in the OR. This could be done by involving the OR team, the specific patient, and the specific procedure in the fabrication of the drape through the use of 3D body scanning technology and custom design software that uses patient information, fenestration needs and surgeon preferences as the basis for the design of each drape. The customization could also incorporate fluid management and patient temperature control features into the drape for an enhanced patient and team experience. Once the drape is designed, it is laser cut, assembled, packaged and sterilized through automated processes, which could be replaced by a single, on-site drape manufacturing equipment and provide hospitals with on-time drape inventory.  Having patient drapes made-to-order and onsite would make the supply chain more agile, with just-in-time delivery and develop on-site on-demand fabrication for a seamless OR experience. 

Cardinal Health can empower the end-users by enabling them to co-create the products they use, thus building stronger the relationships with them.

Cardinal Health has an existing partnership network with established positive relationships and could position its products and services to strengthen these relationships by empowering the end-users and enabling them to co-create the products they use. Cardinal can move from the fabrication of the drape to the fabrication of the machine that makes the drapes, making it harder for competitors to occupy that space.