Hinnovic » Involving users in the design of medical technology, pros and cons

Involving users in the design of medical technology, pros and cons

Involving users in the design of medical technology, pros and consIf you had been consulted in the design of the hospital gown, would you have suggested that it ties to the back, often revealing more than one would like? While embarrassing for patients, the hospital gown accommodates well the work of health professionals. Two categories of users, yet two different perspectives on its design.


Are these views reconcilable? Is it always possible or even desirable to involve users in the design of medical technology?


These questions have prompted lively discussions at a workshop organized by the Hinnovic team in June 2012. The workshop brought together medical device designers, technology transfer experts, clinicians and representatives of organizations whose mission is to support patients who are in frequent contact with technology. If everyone agreed on the relevance and desirability of involving users in the design of medical technology, they nevertheless highlighted several limitations and obstacles.


Which users should be involved in the development process? When and how should they be consulted? What role should they play? What sort of challenges do users and designers face in their attempts to collaborate?


Hinnovic’s collaborators provide some answers that, we hope, can foster the debate.


In this dossier

  • Olivier Demers-Payette, Ph.D. Candidate in public health at the University of Montreal, examines the changing role of users in the development of radiology.

  • Marc Wysocki, physician and Medical Director at GE Healthcare, shares his experience as a designer of medical devices.

  • Philippe Jouvet, Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the CHU Sainte-Justine, discusses the development of computerized protocols for mechanical ventilation from a user’s perspective.

  • Hinnovic presents the results of a British study on the beliefs and attitudes of medical device manufacturers towards user involvement in the design of health technologies.

  • Jorge Silva, from the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, argues that by adopting alternative business models such as open source systems, users of assistive devices are revolutionizing design and production processes.


Also relevant to this dossier

Author : Myriam Hivon, Ph.D.


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