Keeping it simple is a complicated process, but it can also be rewarding. The AtomoRapid in vitro diagnostic (IVD) test platform from Atomo Diagnostics (Sydney) is a case in point: Not only did it receive a gold award in the IVD category of the Medical Design Excellence Awards, which were announced in New York City on June 11, 2014, it was also named best in show. Why? At least partly because the company engineered out inconvenience and potential user error from the device.
Medical device companies have made inroads in usability that IVD manufacturers would be well advised to emulate, says Atomo Diagnostics CEO John Kelly. "Many of the usability features we built into the AtomoRapid were transferred from the medical device industry," he told PlasticsToday during an interview prior to the awards ceremony. "It's a fully integrated device that replaces the all-too-common 'bits-in-a-box' test kits that are not intuitive and do not perform as well as lab tests. The lancet and blood-collection system are built into our test kit, and it is sequence-based, meaning that it only allows the user to go through the steps in the correct sequence," says Kelly. Building in those features and hiding the engineering complexity from the user was an arduous process, but it was needed for a device that was designed with self testing in mind. "Diagnostics companies need to be more user focused," adds Kelly. "They are missing the transition to home-based testing."