Human factor testing is beneficial early on in the design process, rather than as a confirmation at the end. Here’s how testing for usability and desirability helped spark three generations of drug-delivery devices.West Pharmaceutical Services has multiple generations of its SmartDose products under its belt since it started working on the drug delivery devices in 2012. Human factors played a major role in the iterations.
The SmartDose Gen I device was initially used in clinical studies. From those studies, West received data from the returned devices to see what happened during drug delivery – whether it went as planned, if there were any mechanical issues or if there were any use errors. The goal was to better develop new generations of the device.
“It’s one thing to get a written report on what happened in a clinical trial, but we actually got the returned units,” Eric Resnick, VP and CTO at West Pharmaceutical Services told Medical Design & Outsourcing. “The SmartDose technology stores all the data on the circuit board. We can read the units and just see how did the program sequence through from the start of injection or not started, when the unit gets activated, when the dose was completed or when it stopped dosing and may have alarmed.”
It was the type of human factors research that has informed West through three generations of SmartDose. How the company harnessed human factors provides some important lessons for drug delivery device developers in general.