Wow, most of that post header came out like some kind of pet command. Sorry. I'm just excited, I suppose, to have been contacted by the renown innovation research firm Cambridge Consultants on this project: they're looking into combination products* for the diabetes community and would like to ask all of us to complete a brief survey, to give real and actual patient perspectives on how we choose our devices and how we feel about them.
*They're defining "combination products" as things that combine drugs or biological products with a specific device used for administration of the drug (injection pens, pumps, inhalers or medication patches).
"The intent of the survey is to uncover information about the extent to which patient requirements and usability factors are taken into account in the development and prescribing of combination product devices." Hmmm, I'm sure we all have a few opinions there...
Another version of the survey will be filled out by doctors who prescribe these devices, and also by device manufacturers who develop them. In other words, all the so-called "stakeholders" get their say!
What's it all for?
The collective findings will be presented at a March 3 panel event for the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC). This organization is a powerful force in the medical device industry. They "advocate industry positions at the federal and state government levels" and also have close contact with the FDA. The panel is about "maximizing the potential of combination products," which sounds very profit-driven, I'll admit, but here's the thing:
I've long been complaining that there are no established Best Practices for achieving patient involvement in the design process of products for chronic illness care. Typically companies create something very clinical or engineering-driven, and then pay lots of money to set up "focus groups" where they fill a room with patients (i.e. customers), give 'em the gadget, and just watch to see what buttons they push... That's a crappy way to go about it, IMHO. Patients need to be involved in conceptualizing their own new tools! This is of course the whole drive behind the DiabetesMine Design Challenge crowdsourcing competition.
The point being: I think it behooves us to talk to the medical device industry when they finally ask us point-blank.
So please help out by filling out the survey HERE.
The survey results will also be available publicly via the MassMEDIC website following the panel in early March — we'll direct you there when the time comes.
Thank you All, and thanks also to the med device innovators at Cambridge Consultants.