Works in Progress - Summer 2015

You’d Look Great in This Model

By Vicki Valosik | June 8, 2015
Courtesy the Innovation Institute
Courtesy the Innovation Institute


Medical gowns are unloved by patients for obvious reasons, and until recently hospitals didn’t have a problem with that. After all, the tie-in-the-back models cost little to manufacture, and doctors and nurses find them convenient for examinations.

But winds of change are shifting away from drafty backsides in Detroit, where the Henry Ford Hospital is rolling out a gown designed by students at the College for Creative Studies. Named Model G (with a nod to Henry and his Model T), the new gown is a warmer and softer cotton-polyester blend, looks like a robe, comes in cheery colors, and closes completely with a series of strategically placed snaps.

Product designer Michael Forbes, of the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford Hospital, lists the old gowns’ drawbacks: patients found it difficult to dress themselves, doctors and nurses tended to cut off ties in emergencies rather than fumble with knots, and modesty was driving up laundering costs because patients would often “double-gown” for coverage. The Model G addresses these issues, and Forbes says he’s confident that the new robes can be priced competitively. It’s also probable that those in recovery will be more likely to take a walk around the ward—a good thing, doctors often say.

Initial response to the gown has been positive, Forbes reports, and Ford is looking into licensing agreements. If the Model G were mass-produced for the common man and modest woman, everyone might be more safely on the road to recovery.

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