Why Medical Design Is Harder Than You Think

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The field of medical design proximie 38m series aibased is poised to revolutionize healthcare and transform how health is conceptualized. However, the sheer number of possible design decisions and the infinite permutations of outcomes make medical design more difficult than many might think. And even when a given decision seems simple, it proves to be anything but. For instance, in order to create a new medication that will significantly improve lung function without side effects or invasive procedures, it will require years of clinical trials and testing.

1. The history of medical design is a long one. 

The design of medical products has existed since the early 1900s. Meanwhile, advancements in biomedical engineering and information technology have only made the process easier to undertake. All these factors combined mean that designing new health treatments and devices has become more complicated–but it’s not impossible.

2. Medical design can be broken down into different categories.

Medical design, as a whole, can be broken down into three categories: simple products, complex systems and novel devices. All three have their own needs and challenges that must be overcome in order to create an effective product or system. Simple products include things like bandages and other medical treatments whose market is saturated by other companies–and even then, these products still require significant innovation in order to stand out from the crowd. Complex medical systems include technologies that serve larger functions like automated hospital devices and imaging equipment. In these cases, the main challenge becomes integration among various components of each device or system. Novel devices are designed to do things that have never been done before. In these cases, the main challenge is to minimize risk while preserving new therapeutic effects.

3. It takes years of research and testing before an idea can become a product.

Pre-clinical testing is needed because there will never be certainty about the therapeutic effects of a given product or drug until the end of clinical trials. Basic research–including identifying potential applications for drugs and devices–must precede any pursuit of new products and devices through clinical trials because there are too many unknowns to make informed design decisions at the beginning.

4. While a design may appear simple, it can be incredibly complicated.

For example, in order to create a new medical treatment that will significantly improve lung function without any side effects or invasive procedures, it will require several years of clinical trials and testing. While the concept and development of such a project might seem simple, there are at least eight different aspects that must be taken into consideration before work can begin on the creation of such a product:

i. Cost & Value: The idea must have real-world value because without value there is no commercial viability.

ii. Safety: The medicine needs to have potential therapeutic benefits without any harmful side effects to patients or others who come into contact with them .

iii. Efficacy: The medicine must have a real therapeutic benefit–improving symptoms and/or length of life–that is relevant to those who will use it.

iv. Practicability: The medicine must not be too complicated to use because simplicity creates user engagement, which makes the product/treatment more likely to be effective.

v. Regulatory Acceptance: Once pre-clinical tests are completed, the medicine will need to pass a series of regulatory tests in at least one country before it can be approved for sale in other countries.

vi. Consumer Engagement: The medicine must have a non-intimidating design that will encourage consumer adoption.

vii. Stigma: The medicine must not cause any stigma or negative feelings to the people who are involved in its use, which stigmatization leads to reduced usage.

5. Medical design is as important as it is difficult.

Medical design is more than just creating a physical product–it’s also about raising awareness, reducing pain and controlling disease. For example, treating infections during medical procedures like surgeries and hospitalizations saves lives by reducing deaths due to infection and overdose of anesthetics. Also, the use of medical devices (like intravenous pumps) can help reduce pain caused by treatment. In addition, taking steps to treat chronic diseases early on can decrease their progression in the most efficient way possible.

6. Medical devices and artificial organs have a long way to go before they are perfect.

While many of the same benefits can be obtained through the use of an implanted medical device and an artificial organ, they still have a long way to go before they are considered ideal. The reason is that even though both devices and tissues are biological in nature, they do not create the same level of interactions and responses with other organs. For example, technological advances have made it possible for doctors to implant medical devices remotely as opposed to surgically implanting them directly into the body, which are two different ways of dealing with different issues.


Designing a medical product requires time, trial and error, luck and money. However, this is often considered the best way to create new healthcare products that are better than the ones currently available. 


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