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Company insight


Innovation on a deadline – maximise development timelines


At 3M, it has an unparalleled ability to connect science, clinical insight and people to find solutions that make better healthcare possible. Its unique collaborative culture and engagement with healthcare professionals around the world enables it to develop proven technologies for high-quality, cost-effective care.


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n the medical device industry, timing is everything. And, in 2021, the urgency has never been more pronounced. With Covid-19, conditions ‘on the ground’ have rapidly evolved in clinical settings and development of medical devices have reacted accordingly. Innovations have abounded to meet people’s needs in a pandemic – whether it is a critical care nurse in a hard-hit ICU or someone sheltering who needs to access data about their diabetes. In this environment (and even in non- pandemic times), a tight timeline can feel like more of an enemy than a friend. But these constraints do not have to be in opposition to a greater push for innovative thinking. Time can mean many different things and, often, maximising a time frame can mean understanding the context of the project’s needs and its place in the design phase. There will be instances where a team will be pushed to improvise, but that does not mean it has to be chaotic or without a sound plan. With that in mind, consider the following tips from 3M that have been put to the test, both in the lab and the manufacturing floor. These can lead to maximising both innovation and efficiency at every developmental stage – and getting control of a project’s deadlines.


Understand the function of timing in a project


For every 1,000 experiments 3M scientist Audrey Sherman attempts, one succeeds. “You know the route to the grocery store,” Audrey explains. “You follow it, and you hope for a successful outcome.” Audrey’s job, however, is to take the road


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As a result of Covid-19, innovation in medical devices have responded to meet the needs of the people in a pandemic.


less travelled. “We go where people haven’t gone before.” Timing is in the eye of the beholder, whether it is during conception, prototyping, testing, or getting ready to scale and launch. When a team takes the first step on their development journey, it is important that the right preparations have been made, with insight on how the device functions within the timeline. Such preparations will reduce the pain points farther down the road. This requires more than a conceptual framework, but also the right team that understands how different timelines can impact a project. First, an engineer should ask their team how end-user pain points inform medical device design and impact data collection, which in turn affects material


use. Will this be used in a critical care setting where insights can be collected in an instant? Or will this project require trending data that must be captured over time? In the latter case, it makes more sense to utilise an adhesive capable of remaining securely in place for the battery and sensor’s life.


During the Covid-19 pandemic, the bar was raised on ‘failing forward’ rapidly to meet the crisis head-on, and reduce risk for both end-users and clinicians. For example, microfluidics has played a key role in helping to provide relevant data as quickly as possible. Microfluidics technologies reduce the invasiveness of a test and allows for a more proactive approach to crucial public health solutions, such


Medical Device Developments / www.nsmedicaldevices.com


Rido/Shutterstock.com


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