3 top trends in medical industrial design
Every year, manufacturers create new medical products to maintain health and quality of life for patients. While the goals remain consistent, new technologies and trends are constantly opening up fresh possibilities for product design and development. The list of finalists for the 2017 Medical Design Excellence Awards reveals how firms have focused their efforts.
Makers of medical devices are finding ways to bring healthcare providers and patients more information faster, enabling improvements in care. At the same time, they are seizing opportunities for sleeker looks, so the appearance of today's products more often matches their advanced capabilities. By staying on top of the trends, these organizations are building devices ready for the coming demands of healthcare.
1. Sharing data
"Manufacturers are finding ways to make data more visible, accessible and actionable."
The latest medical devices are designed to meet an increased interest in gathering, storing and transferring relevant data. Healthcare providers and patients alike have become accustomed to a world in which the wireless devices they use every day routinely gather huge amounts of information and allow easy sharing. While the demands of healthcare infrastructure and patient recordkeeping are unique, manufacturers are nonetheless finding ways to make data more visible, accessible and immediately actionable.
This movement toward making findings available right away is clearest in new diagnostic devices with easily understandable medical interface design. Testing systems allow immediate identification of viral and bacterial infections or same-day results for monitoring HIV treatment. A tool for watching over peripheral IV sites includes a sensor that detects changes in the tissue, analyzes the data and warns medical professionals if there are signs of an infiltration.
2. Putting the patient first
Healthcare providers prioritize patient-centered care in a variety of ways, looking for chances to improve experiences in the hospital and cut down on the need for office visits. The designs of new devices reflect a commitment to that approach with an emphasis on convenience and minimizing pain. Technology is offering the means to keep patients on-track with their treatment at home and make them more comfortable throughout all stages of managing their well-being.
Advanced products can bolster patients' awareness of their own medical needs and give them enhanced control over their daily routines. For example, some devices are making it easier to monitor glucose levels and administer insulin, granting diabetics and their doctors more tools and options for managing the condition. A connected pillbox encourages greater adherence to complicated regimens of medication by providing reminders whenever the patient misses a dose.
3. Elegant looks
While function always comes first for medical devices, aesthetics make a difference as well. Makers of healthcare products are finding opportunities to combine robust capabilities with appearances that meet the expectations of consumers who are used to a world of powerful technology they can carry in their pockets. Patient experiences can be improved by offering products that look simple and attractive, instead of bulky and ungainly.
Everything from drug delivery pens to ultrasound devices show a tendency toward making tools that are smaller and more pleasant to look at, with an identifiable visual brand language. These kinds of products are more appealing to doctors and patients alike, often providing advantages in ergonomics as well as aesthetics. Additional attention to how it feels to use a device and whether it puts strain on a physician's wrist could make a significant difference in its reception on the market.
Makers of innovative medical products continue to find room for expanding the applications and usability of devices. The latest trends reveal how the wider world of technology is influencing medical device design firms. With a focus on catering to the preferences and needs of patient while providing powerful information-gathering capability, manufacturers are keeping pace with a changing marketplace.