Since 1970, we have been developing medical devices such as the Becton Dickinson SafetyGlide Needle. These devices are not only designed for efficient use but also focus on safety. In medical product design, safety is a top priority, but emphasis is often focused exclusively on protecting the patient. While patient safety is critical, healthcare providers are typically at greater risk due to higher frequency interactions with products. To improve product safety for users, Bresslergroup has developed guidelines to aid product development. This requires a multi-part human factors research & design approach that covers each of the following areas:
- Intrinsic Safety - Focused on immediate/initial use, Minimizes direct injury from device (e.g. sharps, burns)
- Ergonomic Safety - Focused on repetitive and/or long-term use, Minimizes physical fatigue and cumulative injury effects (e.g. carpal tunnel)
- Usable Safety - Focused on full life-cycle of product use, Minimizes opportunities for incorrect cognitive interactions and use (e.g. overdose)
Each of these areas draws on different methodologies from human factors and ergonomics. Creating an effective safety-design research approach will maximize efficiency and benefits.
Rob Tannen, PhD, Bresslergroup’s Director of Research, presents and writes broadly on the topic of medical product design. He recently presented at the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Symposium on Human Factors in Healthcare, and represented product design in the Center for Health Design’s 2011 Design for Patient Safety Seminar.medical, medical product design