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Battelle Unveils User-Centric Simulation Lab to Accommodate Demand for Usability Studies

Posted on Sep 10, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH., 10 September, 2012– Battelle, a global leader in healthcare research and development, has unveiled a new lab that allows researchers in human factors and design to observe and evaluate how real-life patients and clinicians use and interact with medical devices.

The Battelle User Research Lab (uLab) is located at its Columbus headquarters, just a few steps from its medical device development building. The uLab allows researchers to conduct usability studies, an activity that has become increasingly critical to medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers as they launch new products. Battelle’s Human Centric Design (HCD) team now can observe and evaluate human behaviors and challenges as they use various devices or systems in a real-world setting.

The 4,500-square-foot lab features five rooms configured to test everything from hardware and software to full-scale interiors for home healthcare settings. The uLab also has an additional 5,000 square feet that can be transformed into any environment necessary. With multiple high-definition cameras in every room, Battelle can stream live video feeds to its clients across the globe. By allowing both clients and development teams to watch how their devices are used, the uLab streamlines the development process and saves time and money over the course of the R&D timeline.

“The FDA continues to increase its focus on incorporating human factors studies prior to clearing or approving a medical device,” said Reade Harpham, Manager of Battelle’s HCD team. “Battelle’s long history and expertise in human factors, combined with the ability to conduct human factors studies under a registered medical device quality system has helped the demand for our service grow significantly.

“It is critical to get as much feedback from the patient or clinician as you can, as early as you can,” Harpham said. “This enables teams to evaluate behaviors in a real-world setting and to design safe and effective devices.”

Battelle’s HCD researchers also leverage high-fidelity simulated surgical suites at several hospitals across the country. This allows the team to observe and evaluate how doctors, nurses and other hospital staff are using certain medical devices in environments such as an emergency room, an intensive care unit and a surgical suite. With the addition of the uLab, Battelle’s HCD capabilities represent some of the most comprehensive usability services in the industry.

“As a global leader in healthcare R&D, Battelle’s uLab provides an extraordinary benefit to our clients in obtaining regulatory approval for their products,” said Barbara Kunz, President of Battelle Health & Life Sciences. “The work we do in this innovative setting helps us develop better ways for healthcare to be delivered from a surgeon in an OR to a patient in their living room.”

About Battelle

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses:  Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. 

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including eight national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the United Kingdom.

Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or


Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544