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Usability in Medical Technology

Author: Benjamin Franz

Reading time:

Jun 2020

Medical technology places the highest demands on usability and the safety of patients and users.

From the user interface into the depths of technology

Modern, digitalised medical technology demands absolute precision and application safety when developing new devices or new software in order to guarantee successful treatment. For this reason, on the one hand, highly specialised medical technicians are needed, but on the other, the usability of the medical device must be designed in such a user-friendly way that it is easy to operate – even in stressful situations, if necessary – and interacts in a clearly understandable way. Custom Medical sees these two challenges as an opportunity to optimise the connection between “man and machine”, or between end users and technology.

Usability and the user experience: indispensable for medical technology and for the success of the patient’s treatment

Usability is basically the user-friendliness of an application, be it a device or software. It must be free of malfunctions and logic breaks, and operation should ideally be completely intuitive. Even an agreeable design has long since ceased to be reserved for leisure applications and is now taken for granted as a requirement for the interface of a touch screen or display. The successful interaction of all these factors ultimately results in a positive user experience that motivates and satisfies the user. Of course, medical technology makes demands on usability and user experience that go beyond this basic definition. This is because only demonstrably error-free processes can minimise risks during the treatment journey and provide the best possible support for the people involved – be they doctors or patients.

The use of medical technology has the following requirements:

  • Usability which guarantees safety for the patient, the users and other people involved
  • A user experience that fully satisfies the user – be it the doctor or patient
  • Perfect interaction with the technology behind the interface

Präzise Usability ist kein Zufall, sondern das Ergebnis harter Arbeit

“There is always a great deal of complexity behind simplicity,” says Dr. Benjamin Franz, one of the two managing directors of Custom Medical, on this topic. “The easier the operation, the more development work there is behind it. We take on this challenge by testing, testing, testing with the people who will later work with the interface.” One of the first steps for the Custom Medical team is therefore always the exact determination of future users and the formation of test groups who work on the project from the initial sketches and wireframes. This is because, in addition to scientific and engineering expertise, you always need real-life input and forward-thinking feedback from the field.

Custom Medical asks:

  • Who are the users?
  • How do the users think?
  • What processes do users carry out?
  • How can usability and the UX be designed in a way that users want and need?

With Custom Medical to perfect usability – standards-compliant and customised

Of course, Custom Medical carries out all the procedures of a project in accordance with the legal requirements, documents them and summarises them in the UEF, the Usability Engineering File, so that the finished product complies with national and international standards and fulfils the criteria for CE and FDA approval. This ensures not only the best possible, individually developed usability of the medical device, but also its legal compliance on the global market.

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