Typically, it is not possible to train people using active drug delivery devices as this requires subcutaneous or intra-muscular injection and administration of pharmaceutical drugs. To address common issues in patient onboarding, training devices are often used to create consistent training experiences for patients. Human Centred Designer, Amber, discusses just some of the benefits of developing training devices for injectable healthcare markets.
Studies suggest that without proper training during the onboarding process, patients are more likely to be less compliant with the therapy or, to incorrectly use drug delivery devices such as autoinjectors and prefilled syringes among other forms of self-administration.
1. Training devices can be resettable and therefore reusable
Trainer devices can be mechanically designed and engineered so that they’re capable of being reset and therefore, reused, a high number of times making them both an economically and, an environmentally friendly option for training potential users. For example, in the case of the devices we have recently produced, they are capable of a minimum of 200 resets without the use of any additional tools.
2. Training devices can provide tactile, audible, and visual indication of activation
This makes the training experience much similar to the use case of the active device than simply watching a video or, reading IFUs might (that’s if a patient reads the IFUs at all!). This can also eliminate any unexpected feedback when using an active device for the first time and, signifies that a user has used the device correctly. Other elements which can be accurately replicated include the ergonomics, interaction, and injection time of the active device. Although the internal mechanics of trainers may differ to those within the active device, externally they are designed to perform as closely as possible to each other.
5. Training devices can be developed and manufactured more cost effectively than active devices
Again, due to lighter regulatory requirements, trainers can be significantly cheaper to manufacture than active devices because alternative materials and processes can be used. They can also be manufactured with a minimal number of components, with easy to tool features and minimal assembly steps. This can ensure faster assembly times and reduced investment in tooling during the development process. Additionally, they can be packed and stored more easily, so often require reduced packaging materials compared to the active device.
6. Training devices can be protected by IP
Quite often, developing a new trainer also generates additional new IP to the active device due to the complexities in mimicking the internal mechanisms when the drug is excluded. Therefore, the design of the trainer can also be protected. All IP that we generate here at HD, is transferred to our clients to exploit upon project completion.
Training devices are becoming ever more sophisticated and used more prevalently in the pharmaceutical industry. With this trend, the engineering and capabilities of these devices to aid effective training will continue to advance. For trainer devices to meet expectations and work efficiently, it is important that a robust design process is adopted with strong emphasis on elements such as Human Factors throughout. If done properly, these advancements will encourage users to become more confident in their treatments, encourage adherence, overcome treatment barriers, and reduce risks among a variety of other benefits.
Here at HD, we fully understand device development and mechanical design to engineer robust training device solutions. Please get in touch to find out more or discuss how we could help with your new product or medical device development.