The world of medical device development has long been dominated by professionals with backgrounds in medicine, biology, and engineering. However, a paradigm shift is occurring as non-medical designers and engineers are increasingly playing a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare technology.

At Haughton Design we have amassed a team with varied background experiences from a wide array of industries. In this blog post, I will shine a light on how having non-medical design and engineering experience can be not only beneficial but also transformative in the realm of medical device development.

Diverse Perspectives:

Haughton Design’s key strengths lies in its commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration. The team’s varied experiences ensure that each project benefits from a comprehensive exploration of ideas. Industrial designers collaborate seamlessly with engineers, medical professionals, and human factors experts, creating a melting pot of creativity and technical know-how.

One of the primary advantages that individuals with non-medical backgrounds bring to the table is a fresh perspective. Unlike traditional medical device developers who may be deeply entrenched in the intricacies of healthcare, non-medical professionals bring a different set of eyes to the design process. This diversity of thought can lead to innovative solutions and novel approaches to long-standing challenges in the field.

For instance, one of our design engineers with a background in industrial design may approach the development of a wearable medical device with a focus on aesthetics and user experience, enhancing patient adherence and overall satisfaction. Such considerations, sometimes overlooked by those with a strictly medical background, can significantly impact the success and adoption of a medical device.

Medical device designers sketching an inhalation device

User-Centered Design:

Non-medical designers are well-versed in the principles of user-centered design, a critical aspect of creating medical devices that are not only effective but also user-friendly. By prioritizing the end-user’s needs, preferences, and limitations, non-medical professionals can contribute to the development of devices that are intuitive, easy to use, and seamlessly integrate into the user’s daily life.

Consider a scenario where a team of engineers collaborates with a user experience (UX) designer to create a new insulin delivery system for diabetic patients. The UX designer, drawing on their non-medical background, may introduce design elements inspired by everyday objects, making the device more visually appealing, approachable and reducing the stigma associated with traditional medical equipment.

Medical device designers discussing an inhalation device.

Cost-Effective Solutions:

Cost is a critical factor in the development and adoption of medical devices. Non-medical professionals, especially those with experience in industries with tight budget constraints, bring a unique perspective on cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.

For instance, a team with expertise in consumer electronics might leverage economies of scale and efficient manufacturing processes to produce medical devices at a lower cost. This cost-conscious approach is essential in ensuring that innovative medical technologies are accessible to a broader population, addressing healthcare disparities and increasing global impact.

Technology Transfer and Adaptation:

Technological advancements in non-medical fields can be adapted and transferred to the realm of medical device development, opening up new possibilities and accelerating innovation. Professionals with experience in fields such as aerospace, robotics, or telecommunications can bring cutting-edge technologies to healthcare, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in medical device design.

Consider a software engineer with expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning transitioning to medical device development. This individual may contribute to the creation of advanced diagnostic tools that leverage AI algorithms to analyse medical data, leading to faster and more accurate diagnoses.

In the realm of medical device development, Haughton Design’s team stands as a testament to the transformative power of diverse experiences. The convergence of industrial design, engineering, medical sciences, human factors, and regulatory expertise creates a powerhouse capable of driving innovation and bringing groundbreaking medical devices to life. As the team continues to navigate the landscape of medical device development, we can anticipate a future where our contributions revolutionize healthcare, making a lasting impact on patient care and medical advancements.

Phil Sampey 22 February 2024

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Get in Touch with Phil Sampey

Senior Design Development Engineer

Phil graduated from Staffordshire University with a degree in Automotive Technology. Since joining HD, Phil has primarily been working on a number of medical device projects, supported by his wide range of experience from prototype manufacturing, plastic injection moulding and CNC machined parts, to designing bespoke gearbox systems for various industries. Phil also assists with the management of our ISO 13485 & ISO 9001 QMS and network of approved manufacturing suppliers.

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