Corathers Health Consulting
Dedicated to the Advancement of Healthcare Innovations



Surgical Technology Design: Voice of the Customer

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To deliver products that meet customer needs, it is important to integrate the voice of the customer (VOC) into the design process itself. When end-customers are surgeons, it is ever so important to integrate the VOC during the surgical technology design. Surgeons, as a group, are considered by some to be demanding end customers based upon a strong belief system and insistence for evidence-based decisions. Companies that ignore the importance of user feedback during the creation of the surgical product miss two opportunities.

First, user-centered design can minimize the effects of competition by expanding the playing field beyond the technical specifications of the product. Although it is important to meet the technical requirements of the users, this is not enough in itself. Non-essential aspects of products are often the most memorable. Since product designers and product users have different perspectives, it is important to involve the users to address these differences. This is especially true for groundbreaking projects that bring new technologies to unexplored user needs.

Second, involving the users can minimize the risk of introducing a new product. There are many challenges to bringing groundbreaking products to market. Correcting the end-user’s idea of how to use it should not be one of them, especially for important products in healthcare. By bringing initial prototypes to the users during the design process, simple factors can be corrected before they create negative consequences.

Dr. Jay Sanders, a luminary figure in US healthcare, President of The Global Telemedicine Group and featured consultant for Corathers Health suggests that “Time and again it has been painfully demonstrated that the most difficult components to engineer into any new medical device are those related to the human factors. A device that has been developed in the absence of incorporating the input and perspective of the intended operator of that device results in a technology that faithfully performs the task, but that no one will use.”

By bringing the voice of the customer to the design process as well as the design goal, companies can potentially improve customer loyalty of their customer base and in many cases build a position against the competition.

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