Last entry, we introduced our blog. We also introduced the concept of providing a different perspective on the topics you expect to hear from us. Today we’d like to focus on the trends and newest developments in Mobile Device Design. In short, the biggest advances are being seen in electromechanical design, outsourcing design to smart partners who work with you from design through manufacturing, and increasing rapid iteration and/or transfer to marketing. We conclude each Q&A with what all this means for the customer.
Q: What are the latest trends you are seeing in medical device design?
E-G: More networked devices; tighter integration with sensing and/or sensing and software combined products. The interest in electromechanical design has risen significantly and this is partly due to home use, wearables, and remote monitoring.
Q: Are more OEMs outsourcing design work?
E-G: Outsourcing to third party design firms is becoming common practice for larger medical device and pharmaceutical companies. However, OEMs aren’t seeking a design-only partner, but a partner that can work with them throughout the value chain performing as a single-point of contact.
Q: What is the best type of design firm to work with?
E-G: Consider working with a design partner that has proven, trusted relationships with manufacturing arms. Preferably an organization that is vertically integrated with manufacturing solutions. Or organizations familiar with the balance of choosing the appropriate tool designs and manufacturing requirements in early-stage development.
Q: Is design for manufacturing still a key goal?
E-G: Absolutely, design for manufacturing is core to successful development and is critical in the earliest stages. Recognizing future manufacturing possibilities and limitations provides the framework for design reality.
Q: What might OEMs think is impossible, but is actually possible, when it comes to design?
E-G: In some cases, larger OEMs may think that rapid iteration and/or transfer to manufacturing are just not possible. Working with an agile, outside firm can help large OEMs meet timelines that would have otherwise been impossible to attain. One thing OEMs might misunderstand or take for granted is preservation of design intent. To focus purely on design is a complete disservice to manufacturing. The same can be said to have too strong a focus on manufacturing. The design intent is a critical piece to the puzzle for long-term market success and sustainability, especially since market conditions are changing constantly.
Q: Any breakthrough advances on the horizon that will have a big impact? How fast is medical design changing?
E-G: From a healthcare delivery perspective, there are greater demands on the horizon for everyone in this industry. Having a clear picture of user needs at design inception will ultimately drive down development costs and speed up development time. Accelerating development timelines can be one of the greatest challenges for larger companies and the biggest competitive advantage; relying on trusted partners that can bring your new technology to life quickly will make or break you. It’s about staking claim early to novel design concepts that ease the delivery model in the form of relaxed cost pressure or increased patient satisfaction and therefore heighten adoption.
So, what does this mean for the customer?
Human factors are influencing design more than ever, especially as the user and Healthcare provider sees the device as an extension of the wearers mind and body. To keep up, customers need to provide users with devices that are smarter, faster, and effortless. With the end game being to have an adoptable, yet competitive device, successful design is only truly successful when the device is in the hands of its intended user and advancing treatment and/or quality of care. The decision of who you work with on design can make or break your product launch plans, and ultimately affect how adaptable your product will be.
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