Leveraging human factors to develop patient-centric inhalers
Raphaële Audibert, Global Category Manager, Inhalation & Dermal, Mark Tunkel, Global Category Director, Services, and Manuela Basso, Communications Manager, all at Nemera, look at the role patient-centricity has to play in the development of inhalers to treat chronic respiratory diseases.
Living with a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is more than a challenge, not only because these pathologies affect the airways, causing breathing difficulties, but also because correct use of the device to administer the treatment is not always easy.
Global recommendations for the management of asthma and COPD highlight the importance of ensuring patients are adherent to their prescribed long-term dosing regimen. However, adherence remains a big challenge, in large part due to improper use of inhalation devices and a lack of patient comprehension and training.
The current period is therefore under the sign of many projects and new launches, while Nemera understands the challenges encountered by patients living with chronic respiratory diseases and the difficulties of using existing inhalers correctly every day. To design and develop a user-friendly and high-performing device that answers patients’ and technical needs, the only viable solution is to develop the device with the patients, from the early-stage phase to the final steps of validation. Patients’ opinions and feedback are crucial to ensure the best results for usability, as they can offer ideas and inspiration based on their experience.
At the onset of establishing the functional requirements and user needs for a new device application, it is critical to fully understand the patient journey, as well any related clinical processes, to ensure that every decision made takes the patient’s needs into account. Such needs focus on adherence and the integration of new technologies into a variety of inhalation therapeutic areas.
To achieve this, Nemera’s team of design research experts use a technique called applied ethnography. This method relies on a combination of interviews and in-context observations of practices, processes and experiences within the patient’s home or actual use environment.
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