Repertoire: UC engineer talks about human factors in medicine

Biomedical engineering professor says ease of use is a big factor in every new product

Repertoire magazine, a trade publication for health care distributors, spoke to a University of Cincinnati biomedical engineer about why it's important to consider how doctors and patients will use medical products when designing them.

UC College of Engineering and Applied Science professor Mary Beth Privitera told Repertoire that each product should consider whom will use it, including the user's language, education or skill level and even relevant cultural norms.

Mary Beth Privitera portrait.

Mary Beth Privitera. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand

Designers also must consider in what setting the medical product will be used.

"No product development occurs where the goal isn't ease of use," said Privitera, who serves as co-chair for the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation's Human Engineering Committee. "But sometimes it gets lost."

Privitera said the industry has advanced greatly over the years, in part because of regulations governing product evaluations.

"The fact of the matter is, we've realized we can't develop safe medical devices without considering usability," Privitera told Repertoire. "Ten years ago, we were just recognizing the need to take into account human factors. The conversation has changed: Now, it's about what constitutes good human factors engineering."

Read the Repertoire story.

Featured image at top: Blood collection tubes. Photo/Freestocks/Unsplash