At 3M we seek to observe, understand and solve. What we believe is simple: We are people committed to helping other people. Every day we help tackle problems, big and small, in pursuit of our vision to improve every life.

The path to finding real-world answers

August 5, 2020

Developing truly meaningful solutions to medical challenges always requires teamwork — and sometimes going back to the drawing board.

Creating innovative medical products that meet real-world needs requires a vigorous feedback loop. Teaming up with doctors, nurses and patients leads to invaluable insights to refine an idea. At times, it can also help shine a light on ideas that need to be improved.

This happened when 3M showed clinicians a transparent gel developed as part of an ideal I.V. dressing. Such dressings are meant to help protect and cover the I.V. catheter site and secure devices to the skin. In the lab and during studies, the gel solution seemed to solve key problems, such as allowing physicians visibility to the site, helping to keep lines secure, and providing breathability.

“We went out to medical professionals to show them our great invention,” remembers recently-retired 3M Corporate Scientist Bob Asmus. “When they learned the gel took 30 minutes to dry, they said, ‘That’s way too long!’” The verdict? What seemed like a good idea was not yet fully formed.

Feedback like this can be difficult to hear in the moment, but the long-term rewards of rising to the challenge more than make up for it. In this case, 3M used the clinician input as a catalyst to start over and ultimately developed something even better: 3M™ Tegaderm™ CHG I.V. Securement Dressing.

The groundbreaking solution is breathable, holds lines and catheters firmly and peels off as one piece. It’s also the only transparent dressing cleared by the FDA and proven to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections. 

For 3M, creating life-changing products means finding wholly unique solutions to help reduce the risk of problems, not merely repurposing existing technology to mitigate them. “Every product is unique,” says Asmus. “There are a whole new set of antagonisms and features to sort out and understand.”

3M’s goal, however, never changes: to improve lives through science. This means continually giving patients, and the doctors and nurses who care for them, new levels of confidence, comfort and protection, so they can focus on what matters most to them. 

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