As a leader in drug development from cardiology to radiology, the pharmaceutical company recognized the need to update its current drug injection device in order to retain existing patients and attract new ones. The company's 30-year-old drug was famous for its safety and efficacy, but its injection device lagged in user friendliness. In 2010, they teamed with Phillips-Medisize to develop and manufacture an innovative electromechanical autoinjector connected to the cloud. The result was a ground-breaking auto injector system, launched in just two-and-a-half years.
The company's existing autoinjector was an all-mechanical, spring-based device. Typically, devices of this type have a number of usability issues which can make injecting unpleasant for patients. The company sought to use electronics to improve the injection experience. But they also wanted to go a step further, helping patients better manage their disease by offering seamless integration between the device and a patient app that a could track injections and remind patients when and where to take them. Lastly, the company needed a collaborative relationship that could manufacture the devices for global markets, which its current resource was unable to do.
The customer initially reached out to Phillips-Medisize to improve the autoinjector’s usability through electronics. But the Phillips-Medisize project team soon realized the customer was really looking for a connected system that put the patient front and center. The goal was to streamline human-machine interaction and patient data sharing, enabling healthcare professionals to provide optimal patient support.
To speed product development, Phillips-Medisize used the Technology Accelerator: customizable building blocks combined with deep technology expertise. This approach allowed them to benefit from Phillips-Medisize’s decades of experience with electronics and medical technology without conducting its own lengthy R&D processes.
A series of proposals, refinements, block models and tests led to a connected design that offered:
- Ergonomic design with a button in the middle of the device, operated with one hand and light pressure, making for a gentle experience.
- Secondary control functions hidden on the inside, so they don’t interfere with the day-to-day operation of the device.
- A dashboard for healthcare professionals to easily monitor patients and determine who needs support.
- Bluetooth connectivity that ensures data on injection time, volume and body location are synced with the patient app and dashboard.
- Personalized, localized messages and reminders for patients on their device and in the app.
With Phillips-Medisize involved in the project, the expected five-year development time was cut in half.
The integrated system that connects the injector, app and dashboard was first approved and launched in Europe in 2014, earning an honorable mention that year in the Red Dot Award for Product Design competition.
Subsequently, the device has been launched in a number of countries worldwide, including the United States. The Pharma company has made the injections gentler and more intuitive for the patient, as well as making it easier for caregivers, nurses and health care providers to coordinate and follow up on treatment. The innovative solution has also helped the company retain its market position in the highly competitive drug market.