Number One Priority: Patient Safety in the Operating Room

Advance Medical Designs
Written by Karen Hawthorne

When you’re scheduled for surgery, the last thing you want to worry about is getting an infection when you’re in the hospital. Superbugs like MRSA and C.Diff can be dangerous, and germs can potentially infect a surgical wound when your body is at its most vulnerable. That’s why operating room and equipment sterilization saves lives.
Bottom line: Anthony Cottone and his team at Advance Medical Designs have spent almost 35 years making patient safety a priority in hospitals and care facilities. That’s something to be proud of, he says, along with the fact that many of his employees have been with his company since day one.

“We run the company like a corporation, but we also run it like a family business. That means something to people,” he says. True enough, and his 100-member family team is going strong.

Anthony Cottone is President and CEO of Advance Medical Designs in Marietta, Georgia, a niche leader in the healthcare field for designing and manufacturing infection control products focused on hospital operating rooms and ambulatory surgery centers. With his company’s work, millions of people and their loved ones across the United States and globally can be assured that they’ll be taken care of with top-of-the-line products that make surgery as safe as possible.

Those products include a full range of disposable covers for X-ray and ultrasound machines, camera and light covers, draping for microscopes and pressure dressings used to stop bleeding after a heart catheterization.

“Infection control is so important. Our products protect against what we call SSIs, surgical site infections, which is key,” Anthony Cottone says. SSIs can lead to increased morbidity, longer hospitalization times, higher readmission rates and much higher healthcare costs.

His team offers a complete Advance Room Turnover system for operating rooms to ensure that all surfaces are clean and safe for the next patient. The system uses impervious table linens, sturdy lift sheets, arm board and headrest covers, single-use mops and more. Products are replaced after a one-time use.

Another benefit to the company’s products is that harsh cleaning chemicals can be avoided and won’t break down mattresses, bed control mechanisms and other items over time. The company can also run an audit program to assess cleaning procedures and provide onsite training on cleaning protocols.

Clearly, there’s so much more to safe operating procedures than hand-washing and uniform scrubs worn by doctors and nurses in the OR. “We’re constantly developing and designing different sterile barriers for different types of equipment. The latest thing is robotic surgery, which is really becoming popular,” Anthony Cottone says.

“It’s an exciting time for us. The future is wireless technology, so as technology changes, we have to be on the cutting edge with it, by being able to react to what’s coming out and offer a solution to those types of products.”

Today, much of the design and manufacturing is done at the company’s headquarters in Georgia, which is where the engineering team also designs and produces the machines required for production. This is done internally to afford precise control on performance, quality and efficiencies that provide added value for customers. High-volume contract manufacturing is also performed at a plant in China.

New to the Advance Medical Designs lineup is an ultrasonic gel the team has formulated that has landed the company a group purchase organization contract – GPO in shop-talk – right out of the gate, which is a big win and the exception to the rule for products that are not fully released and in production yet, Anthony Cottone says.

“We have a reputation for innovation and quality, so that’s what customers know us for,” he shares. “When companies are prototyping new medical products, they often reach out to Advance Medical Designs to come in and consult and then develop custom coverings for their product.”

In fact, Anthony Cottone himself has had a hand in designing about 90 percent of the company’s products. “That’s my favorite part of my job, being creative and designing all the variations of the products. I enjoy what I do,” he says.

It’s a passion to be sure, and one that comes from the early days of the company. Anthony’s father started the business in 1984 and the younger Cottone recalls working on the first three specialized coverings in the family garage. “After high school, I’d come on home and make the product in the garage. We had three different sizes. We had one sealing machine and just started producing them in our garage.”

Anthony Cottone went off to college to study computers and writing code, but changed his major to business when his dad offered him a sales job in the family business to launch his career. He started in sales and initially spent a lot of time in hospitals watching doctors and the OR team in action to see procedures and how the company’s products were being used – which sparked his affinity for design.

“I saw that there were certain needs – some products were not easily functional – so I designed some and brought them into the surgical suites and said, ‘try this.’ That’s how it started,” he explains. “I learned a lot about different types of materials, and I’ve got a good staff.”

Anthony Cottone became President in 1999 and now the company is global. He recently opened an operation and office in Hong Kong and two more offices – one in China, the other in the U.K. – are presently underway.

Business is exciting, as Anthony Cottone says – and thriving. “We’re known in the industry, we’re a market leader, we have a niche product line and I have great personnel,” he enthuses. “I’m very proud to be able to say that.”



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