Topic: Considerations When Selecting PPE

James Davis has over 25 years of nursing experience, spanning long-term care, adult critical care, clinical decision support, education, nurse management, and infection prevention. Currently, he serves as Manager of Infection Prevention Control at ECRI, managing local, national, and international response and multidisciplinary teams, delivering actionable plans to mitigate or eliminate threats related to infectious pathogens. Mr. Davis has also worked at Abington Memorial Hospital (now Jefferson Abington); The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority; and consulted with Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Wolters Kluwer.
Mr. Davis has an active RN license in the state of Pennsylvania. He is board-certified in infection control and epidemiology (CIC) and holds certifications in healthcare environmental management (HEM) and adult critical care nursing (CCRN-K). He is a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Prevention (APIC), is an APIC Fellow (FAPIC), has served as President of the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter, and is a past Chair of APIC’s National Research Committee.
Mr. Davis has provided educational programs on infection control topics for risk management groups and patient safety organizations, as well as for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and ambulatory surgery systems. He designed the second version of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority’s long-term care healthcare-acquired infection reporting system and analytics programs; he also developed tools and resources for healthcare facilities to translate and implement research into clinical practice as part of work for the Advisory, a peer-reviewed journal of the PA. Patient Safety Authority. Mr. Davis has authored multiple infection prevention and control articles and is published in several international peer reviewed journals. Mr. Davis holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Immaculata University and a Master of Science in nursing education from Gwynedd Mercy University.

Karen Haberland
Karen has been at ECRI since 2020 and is a Senior Project Officer in the Device Safety group. Karen has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and is experienced in both new product development and regulatory consulting. Since joining ECRI her focus has been on the development of specifications and test methodologies for and the evaluation of personal protective equipment, vaccine administration supplies, and cardiovascular technologies.

Optimizing Safety: Avoiding Pitfalls when Matching Isolation Gowns and Respiratory Protection to Healthcare Settings

Brief Description
The purpose of this presentation is to highlight current test methodology used to evaluate the effectiveness and quality of isolation gowns and masks commonly used across the healthcare continuum. The presenters will point out current testing standards and potential areas for improving that methodology in terms of healthcare applications. Presenters will cover common clinical failure points and relay deidentified true stories from our patient safety organization (PSO) data related o gown failures. At the conclusion of the presentation the attendees will have a firm grasp of industry-wide issues concerning these two types of PPE, and how they can influence gown and mask selection and purchasing decisions to ensure safe use.


  1. Summarize methods used to test gown and mask quality.
  2. State at least one common failure point related to isolation gown performance.
  3. Describe key performance indicators for both gown and mask selection.
  4. Identify the difference between a mask and a respirator.