We all know it, we all hate it, but it persists in near universality nonetheless: the “one-size-fits-none” hospital gown.
Outliers: SSM's fledgling designers just try to make it work
As if being fed on someone else's schedule and having your vital signs displayed on a computer screen weren't disempowering enough, patients can always count on a hospital gown to strip away any shred of lingering dignity. Usually faded from years of washing, the mandatory gowns feature no pockets and a propensity for even slight breezes to trigger moments of awkward peekaboos in front of mixed company.
Why doesn't someone ask an expert to redesign the humble hospital gown? Say, Michael Drummond from season eight of “Project Runway”?
That's exactly what SSM Health Care in St. Louis did. Drummond and six SSM executives designed couture hospital gowns, and models wore them on the runway during the system's annual Showcase for Sharing conference, where employees gather to network, exchange ideas and laugh at their bosses' expense.
Some of the designs were better than others, and a few seemed designed as much for humor as function. But Outliers was encouraged by several things.
First of all, several of the gowns featured pockets for iPods. Now that is executive innovation. Also interesting was a gown made from antimicrobial material and featuring a cloth that turns a different color in case of an accident. Scoring points for style were the animal-print and terry-cloth robes.
Drummond, a St. Louis resident, took liberties with the idea and came up with a hand-dyed kimono-style gown that, as the SSM website says, “offers both ease and wearability and reminds us that we can look fabulous no matter the circumstances.” Somehow, we don't think the hand-dyed fabrics would stand up to the industrial washing machines hospital gowns have to go through.
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