Design and optimisation of instrumentation and operative technique to facilitate an established surgical approach to a specific foot and ankle surgical intervention. There is a growing awareness of the impact of human factors and design phycology on the effectiveness and acceptance of instrumentation for surgical procedures. User experience with surgical instrumentation can impact surgeon confidence with a particular instrument set, and can influence purchasing choices for implants and instrumentation. Much of the development of recent years has focused on high volume procedures in the hip, knee and spine. This project proposes the investigation of the application of the designCORE approach to human centred design to the area of foot and ankle surgery, which has historically been underserved. Through the application of industrial design techniques the insights captured by this approach will be brought through to concept realisation and validation through simulation with qualified health care professionals (HCP) in University Hospital Waterford (UHW). A key objective of the project will be the development, through this case study, of a human centred design approach suitable for use in a design controlled environment.
Secondary research will be conducted to establish the state of the art in terms of surgical instrument design and to develop an understanding of the design factors specific to medical device design. Through discussion with contacts at UHW a candidate surgical intervention will be identified and the researcher will conduct in-depth research into this procedure. Following the desktop based research the researcher will gather design insights through contextual enquiry and ethnographic investigation. Working through the designCORE method of human centred design these insights will be brought through iterative design steps to develop viable design solutions to true user need. Design iterations will be tested through video analysis and human factors engineering. Design solutions will subsequently be validated through simulation with the identified HCPs.
From a design perspective the project aims to produce one or more improvements to the instrumentation or workflow of an existing foot and ankle surgical technique. The project will also provide a practice based case study for the application of the human centred design approach to medical device design. The project will also provide a platform to develop a research collaboration with University Hospital Waterford from which may lead to further postgraduate research opportunities. Through continued collaboration a South East regional hub for design in a healthcare setting may ultimately be developed between ITC and WUH. It is anticipated that the study outcomes could be reported in a joint publication between ITC and the participants at WUH.