Designing Medical Devices for Healing Interactions: A Dialysis Case Study
The purpose of this research is to explore the interactions between patients and life-saving medical devices, to understand how the design of these machines can be improved to promote wellness and provide a better quality of life. Life-saving medical devices such as dialysis machines, heart pumps, and artificial lungs are amazing pieces of technology that perform the incredible function of sustaining and extending life. However, aside from meeting the patient’s medical needs, it is also important to consider how interactions with these devices impact a patient’s psychological well-being and overall quality of life.
One of the key insights that came from my research was the idea that complex, life-sustaining medical devices may unintentionally contribute to a patient’s feelings of being out of control of not only their body but also their life. For many people this can lead to depression, despite the fact that their physical medical condition is being successfully treated. As a result, I explored a wearable design concept for a patient-facing dashboard, which would help to alleviate some of these effects by (1) communicating to patients what is happening physically within their bodies, (2) promoting a sense of ownership over their bodies and their treatment, and (3) inspiring a feeling of control over their treatment outcomes and their lives.