PDD has won the DBA Design Effectiveness Award 2010 for the easypod advanced auto-injector device created for client Merck Serono. This marks the second year running that PDD has won the prestigious award.
Merck Serono, a world leader in biotechnology, engaged PDD, the international design and innovation consultancy, to design an auto-injector for its growth hormone therapy product Saizen. The brief was to simplify therapy administration and management through the automation of as many features as possible, and to improve adherence to therapy.
To better understand the human and technical challenges, PDD'S behavioural psychologists, designers and engineers interviewed children, parents, adult users and a range of medical practitioners. This research clarified interviewees' fears and anxieties and created a map of the product's life from dispatch to disposal, analysis of which was combined by PDD's interaction specialists into a comprehensive information architecture reflecting the concepts of gentleness, confidence, seriousness and trust uppermost in users' minds.
The design approach was to first rationalise potential methods of automation. This led to a breakdown of mechatronics and control functions into discreet technical challenges and ideation solution options. CAD and physical modellingwere then used to evaluate the ergonomic implications of potential build configurations.
Merck Serono's easypod autoinjector is the first electro-mechanical device for subcutaneous injection of medicinal products. The device requires minimal dexterity or patient interaction: all operation steps are displayed on an LCD screen, automatic needle retraction and ejection mechanisms ensure safe handling, pre-programmed doses can be PIN code protected by medical practitioners to avoid tampering, patients receive an injected dose confirmation, and a skin sensor prevents accidental injection.
"We are extremely encouraged by the response to easypod from our young patients and their parents, as well as from nurses and physicians," said Dr. Jovanna Dahlgren of Queen Silvia's Children's Hospital, Gothenburg. "It has been extremely well received, bringing additional benefits to the often sensitive task of administering daily therapy to children and young adults... this device is easy to use and reliable."