With technology advancing in all industries at a fairly impressive rate in just the past few years alone, it’s exciting to think about what kind of futuristic medical devices we’ll see invented over the next decade. In many cases, medical devices are replacing or providing favorable alternatives for processes and treatments that would have been handled on an in-patient basis with the assistance of a nurse or doctor.
With these devices serving as the first step towards full automation in healthcare, the mission of ensuring that they work properly and are well-received by the general public is an important collective effort for the industry as a whole to work towards. As a result, medical device designers are tasked with producing safe, efficient, and effective designs, which commonly they achieve by implementing these fundamental techniques:
1. Working with Custom Precision Manufacturers
Working with an advanced and capable manufacturer who has access to a well-equipped factory and a diverse selection of machining methods will ensure that a device designer is taking advantage of cutting-edge technological advancements during the manufacturing process. Heightened precision also reduces the likelihood of encountering flaws or defects that could cause costly malfunctions, negative product reviews, or even lawsuits related to safety liabilities. Thus, many device designers try to work with local machining providers during the initial design phase. It’s easy to find local custom precision manufacturers by searching for “medical device company” followed by your state name or abbreviation, for example, if you are based in Minnesota, you would search for a medical device company in MN.
2. Using Advanced Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software
The industry-wide transition from using manual drawing and paper-based methods to computer-aided design processes was one of the main factors that contributed to the dramatic boost in innovation we’ve seen in the medical technology sector rung the past two decades. Using CAD software, medical device designers are able to create highly accurate concepts, diagrams, schematics, and drawings that they wouldn’t be able to even conceive or illustrate on paper.
3. Extensive Testing and Diverse Prototyping Efforts
Finally, every medical device has to undergo a rigorous testing phase during which the device’s limits and safety expectations are observed. To expedite the process of finding an optimal design configuration, medical device designers typically create and compare multiple prototypes to broaden their options before deciding which one will serve as the basis for the first edition of their device. Beyond that initial design stage, there is also usually a push to create a few additional prototypes when planning for upcoming upgrades.
Letting User Feedback Guide Ongoing Development
In addition to building a solid foundation with the above approaches, medical device designers also try to collect feedback and suggestions from device users in order to decide which features or adjustments would provide the most value to the product’s user base. This step is often facilitated by the distribution of simple surveys either on a web page or via a follow-up email. Medical device designers also pay attention to reviews left on third-party sites and directories as a source of ideas for product design improvements.