You’re lying alone in your hospital bed when two alien-like figures dressed in full-body protective gear approach you. You can’t see their faces or their hands, and their voices are muffled. They all look like creepy clones. No, you haven’t been abducted – you’re just another patient in the new Covid-19 reality, in which medical staff are required to use protective gear that covers most of their faces and any body part from the neck down. Being covered head to toe may be an effective way to protect doctors, nurses and other caregivers, but it also strips them off of almost any human feature, making it nearly impossible to know who’s standing right next to your bed.
Now, imagine that these staff members around you had large stickers on their clothes showing their smiling face. All of a sudden, they regain that human touch that is so crucial in giving patients like yourself a feeling that you’re in good hands, treated by people who understand your condition but can also feel your pain and worries.
Faces Behind Masks is a global, non-profit initiative with an ambitious aim: bringing back the human touch to patients in the Covid-19 reality. It brings together digital print providers and medical teams all around the world, enabling caregivers to use a simple template to create their personal stickers, carrying their headshot and name.
It’s a complex operation: it starts with a robust infrastructure that enables staff members from anywhere in the world to upload their headshot to a secure repository, accessible to participating print providers in that region. The printing must take place in batches, since medical staff are required to replace their protective gear a few times in every shift. Then there’s the logistics challenge of shipping each batch to the right medical ward in the hospital and making sure each member is getting their stickers.
Keep in mind: this is not a local initiative serving one particular region. It’s a global operation, intended to reach dozens of states and countries, hundreds of medical centers and print providers, and hundreds of thousands of personalized print pieces.
Click below to see what Faces Behind Masks is all about:
While the trigger for Faces Behind Masks was the Covid-19 pandemic, this initiative is by no means limited just to designated coronavirus wards: since most hospital departments nowadays require staff to use masks that cover most of their faces, the face stickers can serve any caregiver using this kind of protection.
XMPie is proud to take part in this project, by providing the portal infrastructure that enables efficient creation of personalized stickers. Just as all contributors behind this initiative, the work we put in it is completely voluntary.
Faces Behind Masks is the brainchild of Rafi Albo, Global Creative Director & Head of Connected Packaging at CCL, a leader in product labeling and specialty packaging.
“It all started one random night”, recalls Rafi. “it was well past midnight when I casually scrolled though my Facebook feed and saw that a few medical students printed out stickers with their faces on their protective gear. This caught my attention immediately, and that same night I sent them out a message to see how I can help out. I soon realized that although they came up with a creative idea, they really need someone who knows the print industry and get print providers onboard and become active players in this project”.
Rafi become instantly possessed by this project, putting in tremendous effort and using his rich network, persuasion skills and passion to turn this local initiative into a massive, global scale operation. He was working after hours on this project, juggling between talking printers into donating large batches of stickers and getting hospital managers on board.
In just over 6 weeks, Rafi was able recruit 9 digital print companies who were willing to print A5 sized stickers for this cause. Up to now, over 380,000 stickers have been provided to medical staff around the world, powered by XMPie’s personalized print technology. This snowball keeps rolling, with growing exposure and demand from hospitals that realize the importance of restoring the personal touch in patient care.
“There’s a powerful insight at the premise of this initiative”, says Rafi. “Patient care is not just about performing a medical procedure. It’s also about the personal bond between patients and caregivers. I guess this realization made be believe so firmly in this initiative and drive it so aggressively, reaching a global scale and making the digital printing community feel they’re taking part in something big that really makes a difference on people’s lives”.
“Personalized print is a powerful communication tool that can really strike a chord with individual recipients”, adds Eran Baron, General Manager of XMPie. “This is something we see all the time with our customers. But in 20 years that we’ve been in business, I can’t think of a single campaign in which our technology helped address a pain point that the entire world is currently experiencing. On a personal level, it makes me really proud to know that our team was able to really make an impact on patients all over the world”.
Digital printers are invited to join the community of print providers who are already taking part in Faces Behind Masks and making an impact. To learn how you can help, click here. You’re also welcome to join the Faces Behind Masks Facebook community and invite your friends to join.