An effective product development process starts by understanding what users want. Not only what their reasons are for choosing one product over another, but also what attributes would make the product easy for them to use. In medical device design, defining user needs is the basis for all design activity going forward. U.S. Federal Regulations, in fact, require that user needs and intended device uses be defined and used as the basis for how the design is developed. The final product must be tested against those needs and intended uses to determine whether the product has been designed to be effective for its intended use. Considering those factors, anything that helps us understand users’ choices should help us design better medical products.
There exists an opportunity for companies to differentiate their laboratory instrumentation products by employing carefully thought-out design. Design is important not simply because it influences the emotional response that is core to decision making. Design can also enhance usability, make service and maintenance easier, and provide the visual elements that communicate a trusted brand.
Forma Medical Device Design is engaged in developing products. Why are we offering this treatise on behavior change? One of the foundations of our product development process involves defining where the true problem lies – in uncovering root causes. Without an understanding of the true problem, any designed solution will be ineffective. One root cause of the high cost of health care in the U.S. is that care isn’t given until a health problem has arisen. Many are beginning to recognize that taking measures to prevent disease is much less expensive than treating it once it has occurred. To a great extent, preventing disease is aided by living a healthy lifestyle. Breaking unhealthy habits requires behavior change.
The delivery of health care is evolving to take into account the entire patient experience. Medical products and devices have a significant impact on that experience. Their colors can be calming and restorative, or they can be active and energizing. Further, many medical products that were once used exclusively in controlled care settings are now being used in the home. In the home environment, medical products require aesthetics more in line with consumer products. In appealing to consumers, color has great importance.