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To Connect, or Not to Connect?

Billions of dollars are wasted each year due to healthcare solutions noncompliance. With the challenges healthcare budgets face (an ageing population and an increasing number of chronic conditions to name a few), how can patients better manage their health? While making a device connected is not a magic bullet to improve compliance and health, they present some clear benefits. How does one decide if a device should be smart, connected, or neither? Clear questions must be asked before deciding if a device should be connected or not. The categories of needs which define this include: engagement, competence, onboarding, re-onboarding, and more. These should be identified by exploring both connected and non-connected solutions, after which, the solutions to whether a product is connected or not becomes clearer.

In the regulated world of healthcare, the true cost of a connected solution is high and not just financially. Patient attitudes around sharing their health data must be considered, and the benefits they receive should be worthwhile for providing that information.

Understanding the Problem

Many stakeholders are involved in delivering and managing a patient’s therapy. These range from the patient, the caregivers, and healthcare professionals who deliver the care, through to the pharmacist who dispenses the therapy, the payer who funds it, and, not forgetting, the pharmaceutical company that developed it. Each of these stakeholders has different needs and desires, which may or may not be satisfied through the use of a connected medical device. For example, a pharma company may want to ensure that their clinical trials run smoothly so that the therapy is successful, effective, and meets the needs of the regulators. Healthcare professionals want better clinical outcomes for patients, and, ultimately, the patient wants to have their therapy funded and to be able to manage their condition successfully.

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Charlotte Harris is a Senior Consultant at Team Consulting whose work typically focusses on managing the strategic and creative ‘front-end’ of the product development process. She has over 20 years’ experience in the medical device industry and has worked in clinical, start-up, and consultancy environments. Charlotte studied medical engineering and has a BEng from Cardiff University, UK, and an MSc from Kings College London, UK.

Tom Etheridge is an Industrial Design Consultant at Team Consulting who uses his experience to deliver holistic support to design, engineering, and human factors groups. He has a degree in industrial design technology from Brunel University, UK, and has worked in a design consultancy environment since graduating in 2010. Tom has been the lead industrial designer on several projects ranging from medical devices to consumer electronics.

Paul Greenhalgh heads Team Consulting’s design group. He is a passionate advocate of the importance of ‘good design’ and is involved in all stages of product development, from front-end innovation to detailed design for manufacture.
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Charlotte Harris
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Tom Etheridge
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Paul Greenhalgh
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