15 Feb Designing Better Medical Devices With End User Collaboration
Medical device end-users can be very articulate about what they like and don’t like about a medical device. However, they are neither product designers nor engineers, and thus, lack the ability to find solutions to their problems.
On the other hand, although medical device designers and engineers may be very creative, they may not be able to understand the exact but difficult to articulate needs of the end users.
Naturally, the need to bridge end users and designers is a crucial part of the medical device design process.Therefore, I believe having protocols that foster close collaboration between end users and a medical device design team is a key to designing better medical devices that suit the requirements of the users.
We put this notion to the test when we redesigned our babyLance infant heelstick, which we launched late last year. MediPurpose was keenly aware that the babyLance would need to be nothing short of outstanding if it was going to be a success. Having neonatal nurses closely involved in the design and validation process was a key component of our strategy to fulfill that mission.
We collaborated with many neonatal nurses throughout the United States and in Europe — including nurses at the Citrus Valley Medical Center’s Family Birth & Newborn Center in West Covina, California. Through our relationship with Citrus Valley’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Andrea C. Morris, we were able to get invaluable feedback for our design and enthusiastic participation in the user validation studies.
That collaboration was described in a recently published case study, Reinventing a Better babyLance Infant Heel Incision Device: Collaboration with Citrus Valley Medical Center. The case study describes how we collaborated with Citrus Valley throughout the babyLance design process to:
- Provide highly qualified _ÑÒvoice of the customer_Ñ (VOC) input about both the original redesigned babyLance
- Shape and validate end-user preferences, expectations and requirements for the ideal heelstick solution
- Evaluate new babyLance prototypes and pre-production models at key stages of the redesign process
- Participate in simulated and clinical use validation studies of the redesigned babyLance
As with all of our collaborators, Citrus Valley’s neonatal nurses commit a wealth of time into caring for their patients, and consequently had limited time to spend with our medical device designers. Designers need the inputs and collaboration of end users to be able to design medical devices that really meet their needs and make their jobs easier and safer. We are therefore extremely grateful to Citrus Valley Medical Center for spending as much time as they could with us in the redesign of the babyLance heelstick.
How actively do you engage end-users in your medical product development? If so, do you involve end users in the early stages of the design project or at the end of the design during validation studies?