Merrick Kossack

Merrick Kossack
Intuitive Surgical

For nearly 25 years, Merrick Kossack has studied and worked in the field of human factors, mostly within the medical device industry. During his career, he has introduced, championed and institutionalized engineering processes and techniques in a variety of human factors settings.

Merrick currently is a principal human factors engineer at Intuitive Surgical where he leads the human factors engineering efforts developing the da Vinci Surgical System. His responsibilities range from integrating human factors engineering into the organization’s established design and development processes, to conducting usability studies, to providing the overall human factors strategy for each project.

Merrick also teaches a course on human factors in medical device development at the University of California-Santa Cruz.


Contextual Inquiry Workshop Simulation Scenario Interventional Cardiology (part of the pre-conference Experiential Symposium)

Conducting a contextual inquiry study in the tight confines of a catheter lab has unique challenges. Participants learn the fundamentals presented in AAMI TIR 51 on contextual inquiry in the classroom, which serves as the foundation of a robust usability design program in medical design. They will apply their newfound knowledge and demonstrate their methods in a high fidelity simulation of a catheter procedure that transitions into an emergent open heart procedure.

The workshop begins with a 30-minute classroom presentation on methods and techniques appropriate for CI and ethnography in the context of interventional cardiology and cardiopulmonary surgery. Eight members of the class at a time will be brought into the hybrid cath lab to demonstrate the application of CI methods in context of a simulated procedure where the clinicians are performing a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) as a ventricular assist device (VAD/percutaneously delivered heart pump) is placed into the heart to sustain a patient prior to surgery.

The simulated procedure will last one hour including time to freeze activity and identify points of interest, insights and user error.