Renfrew Group - The Design of Science - The Science of Design

“People don’t want technology, they want what technology does for them,” say Renfrew Group International.

By attempting to make medical devices do more, product designers are at-risk of undermining the fundamental purpose of these devices – to make people better.

For the RGI design team, the beauty of well-designed technology doesn’t lie in complexity, but in the simplicity of the presentation. The art of great industrial design is in creating the efficient and effective interface between human and device - It’s about satisfying all the senses. Nowhere is this more important than in the world of medical devices, where products should be judged on their usability and their effectiveness.  It’s not designers who will make this final judgement, it’s the users. The better the products RGI creates, the more likelihood of adoption by clinicians and the greater the chances of patients seeking them out and using them. If devices are not appealing to use, then it is well understood that compliance, or adherence to a medical regime or treatment may suffer.

This inclusive philosophy has helped establish RGI, as a go to consultancy for the development of innovative yet user friendly medical devices. The consultancy is a passionate advocate for the humanisation of technology – focusing on the outcome – not the object. It all starts with the patient and how the science is delivered to them. RGI describes this duality as The Design of Science (how the science is to be applied most effectively in the real world) and The Science of Design (a systematic and collaborative approach to problem solving). The changing demands of the medical device industry have seen RGI reposition itself more towards technology consultancy, developing both hardware and the software. The aim is to provide smart, responsive and individualised experiences, if the patient really wants to use a device, they will.  It’s human nature to adopt something properly if we perceive it to be beneficial to us.

RGI benefits from having its own labs, which were recently increased in capacity as a result of the move to new facilities in Leicester, and where this analysis takes place. The process is essential at ensuring the consultancy’s designers understand the chemistry, the physics, and the overall requirements of the device and any specific challenges they may face when it comes to developing prototypes. It’s also about ensuring that the needs of both the patient and the clinician aren’t compromised…..all part of helping put the end-user at the fore front of everyone’s mind.

Health services across the world are facing increasing pressure from a growing and ageing population. These demographic shifts are providing the inspiration for much innovation, with a greater focus on devices that enable self-monitoring and improved self-care. The purpose is to keep people out of hospital in the first place and safely discharged patients from hospital as quickly as possible, and improve their quality of life at home.

With no clinician on hand, patients must go it alone. “We have to create products that are simple, intuitive and beautifully designed to ensure patients use them,” says a spokesperson.

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