Medicine & life science

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Medicine & Life Science Design: the link between science and wellbeing

In this category on Red Dot 21, you will find outstanding medicine and life science products which distinguish themselves by having particularly good design. Healthcare has greatly changed in recent years. More and more, the patients pay for themselves or at least bear part of the cost of their treatment. Those who pay for something themselves are more critical and set higher demands. The patient becomes also a consumer who wishes to be won over, who gathers information, makes comparisons and makes a decision with self-confidence. This not only concerns the choice of medicaments, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals, but influences the way that, for example, medical appliances or orthopaedic products are bought for the home. Just as in other areas, we want the best for our money. When we do not have the necessary knowledge to decide between technically very similar products, then, if undecided, we choose the one that gives the best impression and seems to inspire the most confidence. And a well-designed appliance is looked on more favourably than another which is perhaps technically superior, because its external appearance shows that someone has given much thought to it. Manufacturers of products for the field of medicine and life science design have understood this and reacted.

Usability and user-centred design

The focus here is on a user centred design in which human beings are at the centre of the development and design processes. Aside from the adherence to norms, usability and the taking into account of the latest scientific advances play an important role in the development of a new product in the fields of medicine, orthopaedics and rehabilitation. Ideally, the result is products that are good to use and to handle so that misuse is largely eliminated. Such risk minimisation is as important for products for use in the home as for medical equipment for surgeries and clinics where a number of people who are sometimes under extreme time pressure use them.

Hearing aids, wheelchairs etc.: stigmatisation minimized through sensitive design

There is another aspect to consider when dealing with hearing aids and wheelchairs. The avoidance of stigmatisation. A sensitive design takes into consideration the target group, the world in which they live and their emotions and attempts to create the greatest degree of acceptance among the users and their surroundings. Good examples of this are hearing aids that resemble a piece of jewellery, wheelchairs for children that are sporty and colourful and speaks of the self-confidence of the user, or stylishly designed walking frames that respect the dignity of the user. Similarly, prophylaxis devices and those used in therapy as well as medical aids for use at home should blend into the domestic environment as much as possible. Furthermore, in a surgery, for example, in dental medicine or in hospitals, sensitively designed medical appliances and product have a major influence on emotions. The use of colour, choice of materials, shape and interface design communicates that these aids are hygienic, modern and state-of-the-art – in other words that the patient is in good hands. Regardless of what you are looking for, be it laboratory equipment, medical appliances, products for orthopaedics, rehabilitation, dentistry or veterinary medicine or hearings aids or wheelchairs, take a look in the relevant categories and you will find well-designed products, some of which have received Red Dot Awards.