value-based healthcareValue-based care has been proposed as a way to lower healthcare costs while improving outcomes.

Attention to this model seems to be growing. The New England Journal of Medicine has an excellent overview on value-based healthcare. Medical device design can have an impact on the successful transition to a value-based model.

One way that medical device design can help healthcare systems transition from the fee-for-service model to the value-based care model is by focusing design activities on developing complete systems around a specific procedure, rather than focusing on just a single device.

To provide an example, we performed user research for a company that made a device for a cosmetic dermatology procedure. The device had several shortcomings, and the company wanted to uncover ways in which they could improve it. In addition to improvements specific to the device, we uncovered opportunities that weren’t being adequately addressed in both pre-operative procedures and in post-operative recovery. The company had the opportunity to develop a complete product system that would address pre-op and post-op, in addition to the procedure itself. Significant improvements in both efficiency and effectiveness could be realized. The provider would save costs and the patient experience would be much better. Plus, the company could expand its product line and increase sales.

Improved value. Improved outcome. Improved sales. That’s a win-win-win!