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Human Factors + Humans

A white paper recently released by The Qt Company and Medacuity talks about the importance of human factors research in the medical device industry.

To quote the authors, “Usability and human factors testing are becoming requirements rather than “nice-to-haves” across a wide array of industries that make products we use every day in both our professional and personal lives. Today, it’s apparent that “Industry and regulatory agencies have, come to realize that the usability of a device cannot be separated from the safety or security of the device and thus not be ignored or prioritized lower than other concerns.”

This attention to humans (users) is gaining traction in all areas of business; no surprise the medical device industry is recognizing the value as well. But technical specifications and usability testing are not enough to ensure success. Given the diversity in device users and increasingly outside clinical use environments, human engagement over time with a medical device will depend on how well it marries into their space, habits, and emotional motivators. Intersection’s HUMIIN™ framework provides device developers the holistic lens needed to consider these risks.

Human incentive to engage is created through the right user experience (UX). Let's face it, even a restaurant with an “A” rating and all the necessary components to adequately serve food to customers can deliver a horrible customer experience. We have all had many of them, and most of us wouldn’t voluntarily repeat them.

When developing medical devices, it gets even more complicated to hit the right balance. As the white paper shares, “Creating a safe, adoptable, and enjoyable medical device UX relies on feedback from the entire user ecosystem, including patients, doctors, nurses, technicians, maintenance providers, suppliers among others, to drive positive user experiences.”

Employing a human-centered design research team to address all stakeholder and mitigate user behavior risks in the nascent stages of development is a business must. Late revisions can cost nearly 100 times more than revising during the conception and implementation stages.

Our advice, start thinking “users” early on. Remember to consider all users in the ecosystem, the environment, habits and emotional drivers that define the end-user experience.


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