Synergic Multidisciplinary Interactions for Design and Development of Medical Devices
The development of medical devices is becoming increasingly complex, with the advent of information technologies and continuous advances in micro and nanotechnologies. Moreover, the demands in terms of performance, costs and other requisites of these devices have also become stricter. If, on the one hand, the results are clearly positive for society in terms of better health services (and the arguable improvement of the quality of life), on the other hand, there is the need to involve people from a variety of fields in the development process, and the tasks of planning and coordinating the implementation of a development strategy are ever more paramount.
This chapter presents some considerations about the product development cycle and the need for multidisciplinary teams in the product design and development processes of medical devices. The work methods and communication channels within the team, and the organization and coordination of that team are discussed. Opinions regarding different aspects of the development process, collected from individuals involved in medical devices development projects, are described and analyzed. Finally, a case-study is presented of a university-industry project, involving healthcare providers, for the development of a new health support system comprised of different types of medical devices. This project encompassed all the stages of PDD up to the laboratory-stage and establishing the main requisites for industrial productification. The developed system was implemented and field-tested (some of the individuals involved in the field test have answered the previously mentioned questionnaire).
KeywordsMedical Device Multidisciplinary Team Development Team Project Leader Product Development Process
Colleagues involved in the case-study, namely José A. Afonso, Higino Correia, Adriano Moreira, Joaquim Mendes, and students Helena Fernandez-López, Ana Carolina Matos, Duarte Pereira, and Bruno Fernandes. Clinical and financial support for the case-study has been provided by Grupo AMI - Assistência Médica Integral (Casa de Saúde de Guimarães, SA), Portugal, under the partnership established between this healthcare company and the University of Minho. Financial support was also provided by the MIT-Portugal program. The author also acknowledges the Foundation for Science and Technology, Lisbon, through the 3° Quadro Comunitário de Apoio and the POCTI and FEDER programs.
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