Anna Echegaray: “When you design for health, you think about your patient as you would the user of any other product”
Anna Echegaray studied Telecommunications Engineering and Product Design before joining d·HEALTH Barcelona, a postgraduate program that trains innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, using the Stanford biodesign method. As a result of her clinical immersion at Hospital Clinic Barcelona, she co-founded My-qup, which has developed a device for fecal incontinence. She is currently combining her work on this project with positions as a digital health processes designer at DKV and a product designer at BÜRG&ECH.
A product designer can work in many sectors. What makes working in the healthcare sector special?
A product designer can focus on various parts of the design process. I think, in the early stages, it is very similar (research, concept, etc.). What is special is when you get to the point of looking at materials, shapes and, above all, manufacturing, because you have to take into account the many restrictions and regulations. In the healthcare sector, the difficulties multiply depending on the type of medical device. Meaning, class I devices are do-able but class III, which entail greater risk… They are very complicated!
The healthcare sector has a direct impact on people. What role do patients play in designing a product for the healthcare sector?
We don’t always design for the patient. For example, surgical devices are focused on surgeons, and ward devices on nurses. I would say that a patient’s weight in developing a product is no greater than that of the potential user of any product. It’s possible that some devices have to take more into account the patients’ condition (for example, if you have some sort of disability), but this also occurs in non-medical devices.
In the case of My-qup, design is everything. There are already several types of anal plugs, so design is what sets us apart from the competition. It was important to do it professionally and that is why we designed the product with the design studio Nacar.
You also work at DKV. What is a product designer doing at a health insurance company?
Research (including studies with users), defining functions, UX, prototyping, user testing… All with software tools, both for patients and doctors or healthcare professionals. Basically everything but the style guide, which is set by the company. Meaning nothing that has anything to do with the “look” of the app.
Willing to follow Anna’ steps? Join us!
Biocat has open the selection for students of its sixth Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) edition, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, with starting date in January, 2019. The 90% of the previous editions participants have found a job in the healthcare sector and 48% of them started their own business project.
Following the Stanford biodesign methodology, participants expeirence a full cycle of innovation. The fellows divide into multidisciplinary teams with graduates in science, design, engineering and business, and do a two-month clinical immersion in top hospitals in Barcelona to detect real unmet clinical needs on site that can be the basis for creating new products or services.
Throughout the program, participants experience a full innovation cycle, from identifying the business idea to designing and prototyping a viable solution and searching for funding. At the same time, they take on valuable knowledge in medicine, business development, design thinking and creative leadership skills from over 70 international professors from Stanford, Kaos Pilot and companies in Silicon Valley, among others.
More information about Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona).