Are Medical Devices Fit for Human Use?

August 14, 2012

By Aidan Petrie, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder

Medical technology is getting ever more sophisticated while at the same time the use of medical devices is moving away from the highly trained professional and into the hands of nurses, techs, caregivers and in many cases the patients. This divergence is rapid and its drivers include demographic changes, financial pressures, technology advances, the web, education systems, politics and more. As this shift becomes the norm, what are the implications for the device industry? While all systems will need to move towards a user focus, one major area this change will impact is on the device interface. These interfaces will have to align themselves with the new user, in the user’s environment, and within the user’s personal routines. The interface can no longer be dictated by the provider or programmer as devices make their way out of hospital floors and clinical settings into homes and onto the streets. This does not however mean a call to over simplify or “dumb down” technology but rather to make devices that are culturally appropriate, fit the user and are intuitive to use. The upshot is huge. User-centered design leads to better compliance, cost reduction, and more personalized health.

But remember, as more and more lay users take control of their health and the devices to support more effective care they may or may not read the instructions…and if they do happen to pick up the instruction manual best to have it written with them in mind.

HINT: Eliminate the legalese and technical jargon.

To hear more on the pressing need for better design in healthcare join Aidan Petrie on August 18th for his presentation, “Healthcare. Fit for Human Use?” at the 2012 IDSA International Conference.