How the Use of Storytelling in Medical Device Design Can Enrich the Patient Experience

April 25, 2012 – 5:47 pm

The focus on patient experience is increasingly impacting medical device design. Human factors engineering and devices that look more like consumer products are becoming more common themes, as a recent article in EMDT demonstrates. But device makers could centre design around the user even more by incorporating storytelling into the device. This can enrich the user experience, stressed Jon Polhamus, Manager, Brand & Design Language at GE Healthcare Global Design, during the Design of Medical Devices Conference organised by the University of Minnesota this month, MedCity News reports.

GE Healthcare has developed a whole series of imaging equipment around this theme. The series was developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, a hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The devices are designed to reduce children’s anxiety and fear of diagnostic scans. Using a variety of colours and building on themes such as pirate ships, corals and outer space, they created the Adventure Series of imaging devices.

When reading this, it occurred to me that children are not the only ones who are scared of hospitals, and that many adults would prefer a Coral City Adventure CT scan over a traditional white tube. GE realised this as well, which is why the company is now developing a similar type of imaging machine for adults. When lying down in the machine, a patient can see a painting of swans.

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