Life or death usability

Over the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the R&D programme for a ground-breaking medical device to help diabetics manage their insulin treatment.

Part of the project was to reach a regulatory milestone, which has now been achieved.

To reach this milestone we tested the usability of the device to prove it was intuitive and the design prevented people from giving themselves a mis-dose or even fatal dose of insulin.

It was amazing to work in this ‘high-stakes’ context with so many facets to the user experience:

  • an ‘out of box’ experience with crucial set-up to match the device to the user’s insulin sensitivity
  • a physical product which is injected with insulin and attached to the body
  • a touch screen device presents a learning curve for diabetics in their 70’s
  • online monitoring and visualisation of blood glucose levels – data presented in new ways
  • …and the big one… people’s health and lifestyle literally in their hands and plugged into their bellies.

Aside from having my eyes opened to the world of diabetes and being humbled by the courage of the people I met during the research, …it’s been so satisfying to see design research deliver such a tangible impact.

I worked in conjunction with London User Research Centre and with Design Science in Philadelphia.

4 thoughts on “Life or death usability

  1. Nick Post author

    FDA was on the horizon but we were supporting efforts towards a European regulatory approval called the CE mark.
    As you probably know there are many more hoops to jump through in the medical world, like clinical trials which is the final, critical milestone for a product like this.
    The high stakes along with the potentially life changing outcomes do make things exciting. I’ll jump at the chance for another medical sector project!

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