Medical Device Usability | PDD

Medical Device Usability


on January 31 2012

Last week Polly Shelton, one of PDD‘s Human Sciences consultants, spoke at the LEG (London Ergonomics Group) and UKUPA (Usability Professionals’ Association) event at UCL’s Interaction Centre. 

The event focused around medical device design, healthcare human factors and included a range of speakers from industry and academia. The event was hugely successful and generated a lot of interest and interesting discussion around the field of medical device human factors.

Patrick Jordan (author of Designing Pleasurable Products) kicked off by talking about the broad aspect of using people-centred design for health and well-being. As well as looking at the design of medical devices, he covered a broad range of issues including the design of the services, systems, products and messages that affect people’s health.

Polly then spoke about some of the practical aspects of incorporating and embedding human factors into the medical product design cycle. She covered the process from ethnographic  research  to summative usability testing, the relationship to risk management, some of the regulations and guidelines and some case studies and statistics. Polly finished up with a discussion of some practical tips for running usability tests for medical devices. If you didn’t attend the event, I’ve published the presentation here:

Matt Pattison, director at 7bn (and ex-PDD human factors researcher) took a story-telling approach to cover the broader aspects of healthcare innovation. He talked about his experience of using behavioural observation and contextual research methods to create meaningful and effective products and services and make a difference to patient’s lives.

Finally, Chris Vincent covered some of the research that UCL’s CHI-MED project is currently undertaking and discussed the challenges in adopting user-centred techniques when designing medical devices and systems. Chris provided examples relating to collaborative working practices and highlighted the importance of ensuring that techniques are adequately justified, applied at the correct time, aligned with the development life-cycle and easy to adopt. You can find out more about the CHI-MED project on their website.

The event ended with a panel discussion and covered some interesting topics including ubiquitous healthcare, ethical considerations, moderation techniques and methods and  opportunities  for real patient-centred innovation in the medical devices field.