Medical Design Deep Dive 2020: Event Recap

May 26 2022 - 11:32am


The global coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us this year, and—for industrial designers in particular—reemphasized the importance of medical and healthcare designs. Moving from an in-person event last year at Harvard Medical School to a virtual gathering in 2020, IDSA's Medical Design Deep Dive convened designers worldwide for two days of immersive presentations and conversations around how to improve patient outcomes and work across industries to meet new challenges, both now and in the future. 

For four hours each day on Thursday, Nov. 12 and Friday, Nov. 13, designers and engineers exhanged knowledge and advice on how they have navigated a difficult year and made exciting breakthroughs in a variety of areas, from augmented reality to telehealth, service design to human factors, and much more. 



Connect & Converse


Growing out of IDSA's Medical Section and Patient Safety Taskforce, the Medical Design Deep Dive invited industrial designers and professionals in related fields to explore the potency of designing and researching healthcare products and services. The sixth iteration of this conference was the first to be held entirely online, setting record attendance at over 330 registrants. 

Co-emceed by Amy Wicks, Principal Researcher and Design Strategist at IA Collaborative, and Meredith DeZutter, Service Designer at Mayo Clinic, this Deep Dive had a simple yet powerful theme: "Connect & Converse." Given our current reality of social distancing, the opportunity to have meaningful discussions on important topics and connect with problem-solvers both in and outside of the medical design field was an instructive and gratifying experience.



Tap the MDDD 2020 circle at the top of IDSA's Instagram page to see highlights from this and more IDSA events:


Day 1 - Thursday, Nov. 12


The first day began with three presentations by leaders at some of the world's most esteemed design and healthcare companies. First, Mary Beth Privitera, FIDSA, Principal at HS Design and the 2021 Jury Chair for IDSA's International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), walked attendees through the design process of SentiAR’s electrophysiology system. SentiAR, a 2020 Silver IDEA winner in the Digital Interaction category, aims to transform the experience for both patients and clinicians in interventional procedures with a 3D augmented reality platform, featuring real-time holographic visualization of the patient’s actual anatomy “floating” over the patient. 

Hsiang-Hung Chen, IDSA, Global Design Head of Lilly Design Lab at Eli Lilly and Chair of the IDSA-Indianapolis Chapter, talked about ways to nuture design thinking and diversity throughout organizations to create state-of-the-art products that produce healthy outcomes for patients worldwide. Next, Kaiser Permanente colleagues Laura Urquiaga, Innovation and Senior Design Specialist, and Carissa Lim, Design and Innovation Lead, presented on the rise of telehealth and how their team has used human-centered design, co-design sessions, and micropilots to design, test, and build an ecosystem of solutions to spread across the KP hospital network.

Attendees then had the option to attend one of three breakout sessions: "'Poke-Yoke' Your Medical Device Design" with Pearly Pandya of Edwards Lifesciences, "Product Semantics in the Healthcare Space" with Sean Hägen, IDSA of BlackHägen Design, and "Participatory Design to Support Sensemaking in High-Risk Medical Decision-Making," with Sarah Fadem, a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University.

A fireside chat with MIT instructors Nevan Hanumara, PhD and Coby Unger outlined their process of "unnovation," a term they coined to describe how their multidisciplinary team quickly designed, prototyped, and disseminated an emergency ventilator open-source toolkit. By stripping away complexity, looking back through the history of a technology, focusing on the fundamentals, and combining old and new, the team was successful in producing a device that was minimal by design but also functional, safe, and able to be fabricated widely, as well as at a fraction of the cost typically associated with medical devices.

The day concluded with a roundtable discussion on "The State of ID Consultancy in the Wake of a Pandemic," featuring Alden, Hägen, and Dan Harden, IDSA, Founder, CEO, and Principal Designer of Whipsaw, followed by a 5pm virtual Happy Hour.


Day 2 - Friday, Nov. 13


The second and final day opened with a presentation by Fitbit colleagues Pete Richards, Director of Research for Electrical Engineering and Optics, and Brian Paschke, Creative Director of Industrial Design. With plenty of details and honesty about their process, including testing with cardboard boxes, they walked through the Fitbit team's rapid timeline of designing an emergency ventilator in the spring of 2020, from initial concept to receiving FDA approval for Emergency Use Authorization that June.

Danny Gelfman, Principal Solutions Designer at Medtronic, shared his company's "PACED" framework for ideation and prototyping to elicit user needs early in the design process. Next, Richard Griffith, MD examined how industrial designers hold the skills essential for remodeling healthcare delivery in the decades to come. These natural abilities include human-centered ways of thinking to adjust advanced treatments to individual patient needs and ethnographic scrutiny to create novel workflows that accurately detect illness and injury even before patients have symptoms. 

Breakout sessions included a presentation on analytics in healthcare design with Georgia Tech colleagues Leila Alfatoony, IDSA, Assistant Professor, and Chris Bartlett, Human Systems Engineer, and a guide to harnessing creativity with Doug Patton, CEO of Patton Design and author of "Conquering the Chaos of Creativity."

Two roundtable discussions ended the event on high notes of hope for the future. First, Alisan Atvur of Novo Nordisk guided a conversation with other top design experts from some of Denmark's leading healthcare companies: Eilidh Dickson of Falck, Lilith Hasbeck of Coloplast, and Mark Guarraia of Novo Nordisk. With empathy and deep insights, the group covered topics ranging from sustainability in medical device design to linking products and services to acknowledging mental health in connection with physical health when evaluating patient outcomes. Finally, a discussion on "The State of Medical OEM Design in the Wake of a Pandemic" with Gelfman, Bradley Wilkinson of Becton, Dickinson and Company, and Tim Hulford, IDSA of Facebook delved into the ways in which COVID-19 has changed how in-house groups design and what they will design in the near future.





"IDSA’s Medical Deep Dive showcased a spectrum of design and thought leaders across the healthcare space. I was enthralled with the call to action from Fitbit and it really changed my perception of the company when they presented their version of an emergency ventilator, dubbed 'Flow.' In 8 weeks, the team took advantage of the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and went to work building 100s of ventilators by combining ID and Engineering resources, in the most meaningful development sprint I have ever seen. Powerful outcome and inspiring ID!" - Philip Stankard, IDSA

"Enjoyed learning about new methods and perspectives during the first session of the #IDSADeepDive for medical design. Looking forward to learning more and integrating some of these techniques into my design process. Thanks, Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)!" - Janae Jarvis

"Thank you for Medical Design Deep Dive 2020. The event overall was very informative (I had to re-watch most of the presentations to gather all the points), as it was also equally inspiring. Far and few between are the opportunities to hear such in-depth breakdowns on the processes and methods behind medical devices that have come to market. The presentations by those at MIT and HSDesign I found to be especially fascinating...One of the best online conferences I have had the pleasure of listening into this year." - Paul Fromholtz, IDSA

"Once again the staff and leadership of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) did an amazing, flawless job. Thank you for bringing our community closer together!" - Tor Alden, FIDSA


Special thanks to our event supporters: