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User-Centric Design to Identify the Baseline Requirements for a Connected Inhaler

Tweedie A, Mitchell C.

Respiratory Drug Delivery 2020. Volume 1, 2020: 225-238.


Connected inhalers have the potential to improve respiratory outcomes by monitoring adherence to dosing regimens, improve compliance to use instructions as well as assist with inhalation technique. Establishing the minimum viable product (MVP) for a new connected inhaler involves carefully balancing the user needs against those of the business, to ensure a targeted value proposition.

This paper describes a user-centric approach to identify the baseline requirements for the design of connected inhalers. A user needs study was conducted in order to understand patient use habits with respect to both their inhalers and smartphones. Subsequent human factor studies were undertaken, and the results combined with relevant stakeholder opinions to determine the MVP features of a connected NEXThaler and a connected eMDI.

Concepts consisting of reusable electronic modules designed to last for up to 12 months were preferred due to environmental concerns, ideally these would be fitted with either non-replaceable or rechargeable batteries due to the complexity of replacing small coin cells. Patients also preferred concepts with more immersive screens however as a minimum level of feedback found on-device LED icons easy to understand dose reminders or coordination feedback.

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