Design and Health: The case of Stimulo and New Born Solutions

Design is a very important element in the healthcare sector, and more specifically in the field of medical technology or medtech. A good example of this is the Barcelona-based start-up New Born Solutions, which has developed a device to detect meningitis in newborns noninvasively in just three seconds. The company has developed a prototype that rests on top of the baby’s head and uses ultrasound to determine the concentration of white blood cells, which is an indicator of this dangerous infection. The firm expects to launch its product to market in 2020.

“Design has been an essential part of developing our device,” highlights Javier Jiménez, founder and CEO of New Born Solutions. “On one hand, so the device attaches to the baby’s skin properly, ensuring a reliable reading; and on the other, so users will be more likely to use the device and not reject or refuse to use it.” To develop the device, the Barcelona-based start-up worked with an agency that specializes in design and health: Stimulo.

“At Stimulo, we look at each project as a challenge, an opportunity to apply design methodology to speed up decision-making, especially in innovative projects that are still in the early stages, like New Born Solutions,” highlights industrial designer Ramón Martínez, CEO of Stimulo.

Methodology for design and health projects

To develop its design and health projects, Stimulo uses the following methodology:

  1. Immersion: Cognitive immersion activities, including interviewing users. “With New Born Solutions, this phase included interviewing pediatricians, pediatric nurses and nursing assistants at Hospital General Granollers,” explains Ramón Martínez. “The goal of this phase is to analyze user experience and put it at the core of the project, compiling their needs, reasons for using it, motivations and frustrations, and taking on board insights that will be key in designing the product.”
  2. Design: Engineers and/or scientists work on the mechanisms, parts, prototypes and main techniques that will be used to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the product and, separately, the designers begin the iterative process of design proposals integrating user needs, technology and business model. “Prototyping plays a key role in this phase, as it allows us to make the solutions tangible and to test them with users, get feedback and continue working to improve the product,” the Stimulo team highlights.
  3. Development: At the same time as the Design phase, this process aims to resolve the product technically and prepare it for mass production. “We optimize the technical solutions so that they are cost-effective, ensuring the product complies with all requirements under applicable medical device regulations,” Stimulo explains.
  4. Implementation: Activities associated with mass production and launching the product, which include promotional materials, packaging, website, dissemination materials, etc.

“Product design is closely tied to the creation process, and it is always gratifying to bring a new product or service to life from scratch,” notes Stimulo designer Ramon Martinez. “In the healthcare sector, knowing that the product you’re designing could save lives or substantially improve the lives of patients/the people who will use it, is undoubtedly the best reward for a designer.”

A project of this scope, requires “a multidisciplinary team with the talent necessary to cover all areas of development, both technical and clinical,” explains Ramon Martinez.

What does a product engineer or designer need to work in the healthcare or medical technology sector? “The medical sector requires designers with a broad range of profiles, who are good at understanding users and creating efficient, effective design solutions,” the Stimulo team explains. “Teamwork and leadership skills are key, as these projects normally involve several teams whose interests are not always aligned.”

PS- You can read this post in Spanish in Moebio’s blog

Willing to work in design and health? Join d·HEALTH Barcelona

Biocat has just open this July 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).