Management of evaluations: Patients with ‘sensitive’ medical conditions

Conducting any kind of patient-centric evaluation can present numerous challenges; preparing for and conducting evaluation sessions with patients suffering from sensitive and changeable conditions (such as Alzheimer’s) can present even more complex challenges, as we found out on a study we conducted in the past year.

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The role of a moderator in Human Factors studies…

It may sound strange to say it but the role of a moderator, in my opinion, is to be a bit of a Chameleon. And a few acting skills don’t go amiss either! Let me explain…

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Human Factors: The importance of exposure to the end user

When previously working as a design engineer for a medical device manufacturer I was not always exposed to the end user of the device I was developing. Due to the pressure on resources, time required to arrange testing or the complexity of negotiating hospital access this activity was frequently put on hold.

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Tips on how to approach medical device usability in China

What happens when usability research is conducted abroad? A team from PDD have been working closely with international manufacturing organisations to develop medical devices for the Chinese inpatient market. This means that usability research has been conducted in Chinese and reported in English. This blog explores the benefit that usability research provides when implemented across international teams and how to overcome issues that may be encountered along the way. It amalgamates our insights taken from a number of usability projects conducted in China.

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‘Just around the Vend’ – Human Factors and Usability of Vending Machines

As a human factors and usability consultant I talk about usability a lot, unfortunately – but also understandably – most people do not share my enthusiasm; that is, until I apply it to something they find absolutely infuriating. This can range from tin openers to a local council website, whatever it may be it puts the problem in context. There’s one particular product that I find most people have a problem with, a product that irritates me so much that I will join in any conversation involving it. Admittedly there aren’t very many of these conversations, but they’re almost always focused on the criticism of usability; let’s see if you agree.

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Planes to Pains: Human factors taking off in healthcare

When I graduated with a BSc in Ergonomics (Human Factors Design) in 2011, it was clear that the subject is neither widely known nor greatly recognised, in fact I am constantly corrected that I did Economics at University. However, it was also apparent that certain industries placed great value in the area I had studied for three years; these were mainly energy, rail, aviation and defence – all big industries with a lot to lose if something were to go catastrophically wrong. It is therefore baffling to think the same attention to human factors isn’t apparent in healthcare.

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Is safety regulation stopping us from designing easy-to-use medical devices?

Whilst perusing the web to stay abreast of current affairs in the medical device usability world, I came across an interesting topic with regards to the regulated and unregulated components of usability work in the sector. We have on the one hand the regulatory requirement to develop devices that are safe and effective, free from potentially harmful use errors. Whilst on the other hand, we have the desire to create great user and patient experiences through devices that are appealing and easy-to-use. However, the tension between the two components can mean that we, as usability practitioners, get so distracted with regulatory issues that other characteristics of usability become neglected within the device user interface.

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Medical Device Usability Engineering, a first-hand perspective

I’ve only been at PDD a matter of months as a Human Factors and Usability consultant, but to say that my feet have barely touched the ground, would be an understatement. I’ve travelled to four different countries, and observed 100 participants. In this article, I take a look at why going into the field is so important in identifying device development opportunities…

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