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Date: Wednesday, April 14, 11:20am-11:40am EST
Title: Case Study - Benchmarking Immersive Technology Study Results Against Real World Outcomes
Author: Annie Diorio-Blum
Best practices and regulatory guidance for medical technology necessitate the need for medical technology solutions (those designed and engineered to meet specific objectives) to be prototyped and evaluated by target users several times during development. These evaluations serve to measure the success of risk mitigations and allow for qualitative evaluations of intuitiveness and user preferences related to the solution.
Medical technologies such as surgical tools and medical technologies for home use (e.g. drug delivery devices) by non-professionals (e.g. lay users / non-professionals) require extensive, iterative user research and testing throughout the development cycle to meet end-user and regulatory needs and commercial expectations. However, in many instances, prototypes of suitable fidelity for user research can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming. Furthermore, access to contextual use environments (like an OR suite) has always been constrained, even more so during the pandemic.
To account for this shift in the traditional development process, Battelle researchers leverage simulation tools like Virtual Reality (VR) technology to support rapid development and testing. Device design concepts can be evaluated in a virtual space to help inform product requirements from the user's perspective. Designers can easily import CAD files to create and evaluate a range of device configurations to help reduce the need to produce numerous physical prototypes of a device in early-stage evaluations. In some cases, the technology can provide tangible, anthropometric, and quantitative data that can be easily transferred to engineering teams and begin to inform early engineering requirements. The overall goal of introducing a VR simulation into the development cycle early is to uncover the end user needs in a timely, more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Battelle’s recent experiences include a unique example of evaluating a medical technology using both traditional, in-person techniques and immersive technology leveraging a similar study scope, and user populations. This provided an interesting case study and set of data points regarding what may be expected from a transition to immersive technology for some evaluations.