COVID-19: how can medical device development be done remotely?

17 Mar 2020 3min read

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”

Device development is always a dynamic and iterative process, requiring a flexible mindset to overcome technical and logistical challenges – whether navigating the restrictions of COVID-19 or not. There are many development methodologies that can help to structure activities and drive efforts towards a common goal and, even within such a tightly regulated field, agile techniques are being implemented (Agile and waterfall project management techniques).

Well before COVID-19 made remote working a more immediate reality, being flexible with our own working practices has often been beneficial to projects’ progress. Remote working in a field like ours can be a challenge, but I’ve found there are real benefits to having this flexibility; including greater productivity when I must focus on completing that one report without the distractions of the office…

We setup a ‘remote lab’ for knowledge transfer across the ether of the internet.

In terms of practical tools, platforms such as Slack are great for communicating within projects and tracking an individual’s progress. Broader project tools like Jira quickly become a project manager’s best friend. But sometimes, meeting project needs requires a custom solution to keep things on track…

Unforeseen travel restrictions recently prevented us from visiting our client’s manufacturer as part of a knowledge transfer exercise. This was a critical activity in the project as we needed to guide them through the assembly of an optical examination device that we had designed. So, undeterred by the setback, with some awesome remote working tools and a helping hand from IT, we setup a ‘remote lab’ for knowledge transfer across the ether of the internet.

The exercise was ultimately a success and demonstrates why working remotely with your selection of clever, intuitive tools can be awesome! Remote working can’t completely replace personal interaction, but much like the reed in the wind, being flexible across all aspects of a development process means your project is less likely to break in a storm.

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