The challenging assertion that “Plumbers run the world” belies the premise that it is enough to let innovation drive engineering design. While “plumbing” may seem particularly dull for engineers eagerly drawn to “new and shiny” designs, often a greater proportion of effort is required for “mending” (maintenance) to help sustain “making” (innovation). For medical device design, incorporating “reusable” can be both resource-sensible and perhaps more eco-friendly. Yet there are important lessons, from a human factors perspective focused on use (rather than user) errors, which should be considered collectively for effective medical device design.  In addition to use by the primary user (e.g., clinicians or patients), secondary users for maintenance of the device should also be considered. We will review when “plumbing” or maintenance issues have proven dangerous design flaws, and discuss design considerations for the safe and effective use of medical devices.

Of Men and Maintenance / Usability and the Art of Med Device Maintenance

A presentation by Julia Choi