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How designer/developer collaboration can drive medtech efficiencies

By Roger Mazzella, Senior Product Manager, Qt Group



The MedTech industry is set to face another year beset with supply chain and fundraising issues, amid continued labour shortages.

Over the last three years, as result of the pandemic, this industry has been exposed to continued, intense pressure.

Manufacturers across the industry continue to be subject to immense strain as inflation accelerates, and a global recession is now an imminent threat.

Developers, irrespective of the industry that they serve, have always faced pressure to create and deploy code at a rapid pace.

The accelerated digital transformation brought about by the pandemic has only amplified the need for manufacturers to deliver products to market more quickly, as industries urgently scrambled to digitise.

For those developers working on life-saving medical devices, fast delivery and a quick time-to-market could literally be a matter of life and death.

Removing siloes to reduce time-to-market

Traditionally, designers and developers work in siloes, using different systems and working processes that are not conducive to the collaboration required for success in today’s fast-paced digital world.

To solve this problem, the product design and development lifecycle needs to be unified – a concept known as DevDes.

Just as software development and IT operations has become DevOps, there is a need for software developers and designers to bring their disciplines together for more synergetic product development.

In doing this, workloads across teams are lightened, delivery is simplified, and siloes are broken down.

It can take time to grasp the full potential of DevDes for companies that are hardware-centric.

And unless they have begun adopting a digital user interface, DevDes may be too futuristic a principle for now.

Legacy players vs. digital native challengers

The DevDes approach can be implemented with cross-platform frameworks and tools that enable designers and developers to effectively speak the same language.

However, not all companies will be open to fostering a digital-first approach.

Those that are more reliant on hardware will believe that their ideology is best: if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it, right?

But in the current climate, while it may not be broken now, this attitude can certainly lead to devices becoming outdated, and quickly.

Internal collaboration will facilitate a more efficient and streamlined working environment with a lot less back and forth between the strategy and production phases.

Reducing the noise and congestion of product development will help companies beat competitors to the market, and in the case of the medical devices sector, save lives.

Working together also has the potential to increase capacity for innovation and ensure that user experience remains a primary factor in production, and not simply a sporadic afterthought.

Life-saving tech demands seamless UX

The design and functionality of a device are equally critical, and a seamless user experience (UX) can be realised when adopting a DevDes approach.

While we are unlikely to see such a sudden surge in demand for products as we did in the wake of the pandemic, forming a sustainable approach to product development that enables consistent real-time feedback on how a device is functioning in the real world is a valuable asset.

The medical devices industry is incorporating new technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

In the not-too-distant future, UX could break new ground, and UX designers are having to learn more about complex new technology, with the design of prosthetics being changed dramatically through the use of visualisation and 3D printing.

As we enter 2023, more medical device manufacturers can benefit from adopting a DevDes approach.

This will ensure that developers and designers have a clear line of communication, despite the environmental and economic pressures.

Investing in streamlined ways of working can aid long-term ventures and ensure that medical devices will be produced faster, and with a more seamless UX for the end-user.

Roger is Senior Product Manager for The Qt Company.

Roger is in charge of Qt’s cross platform UI/UX software offering for strategic industries, initiatives and partnerships. 

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