Medical Product Design:

From pain point to FDA testing.

Facing new competition, this medical product client sought to redefine their existing product for outpatient surgical clinics. Hopscotch Labs’ principal, Kristine Angell, conducted discovery and usability research on their existing hand-held surgical device and its generator while at a previous employer. The project goals were simple:
  • Identify challenges to the products’ use
  • Find out why it was more often in storage than in the OR
  • Develop a new handheld device and redesign the generator based on the generative research
  • Observations
  • Expert interviews
  • ‘Frankenstein’ prototyping
  • Usability testing
  • FDA testing
Product Task Workflow Design Option
Product Task Workflow Design Option
Design Options, Comps
Generative research in a surgical setting uncovered structural challenges in the products’ setup that decreased doctors use of the product. Of note, without client sales staff in the room, the medical staff could not assemble the product efficiently, leading to doctors abandoning efforts with the client’s device and going with competitor devices. Once we surfaced this insight to the client, we learned that this behavior was long known and as such defined their sales strategy. This allowed Kristine to work closely with the industrial designers to ideate new work flow patterns that resulted in a refined product setup. These concepts were later tested with doctors and technicians.
Utilizing contextual and ethnographic research, she uncovered business opportunities that redefined how the product was sold, and design solutions that would improve its use. These opportunities included:
  • Improve ergonomics
  • Decrease setup time
  • Change in product configuration
  • Improve functionality
  • Eliminate user confusion


The research results led to product innovations that decreased setup time from 30 minutes to 5, moving the equipment from the storage room into the operating room. 

This increased product use and sales; increased doctor and staff confidence in the product and saved patients precious time on the operating table.
Later rounds of research had Kristine developing the user interface (UI) from concept through to a ‘Frankenstein’ style prototype to better understand the design, usability and cost ramifications of each option. From basic to complex, each solution provided the end user and client feature solutions to previously identified pain points. She also supported FDA validation research.
UI Concepts
UI Concepts: High Fidelity
‘Frankenstein’ Prototype, UI component
FDA Validation Research

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Patient Experience
Market Definition