Sustainable and patient-centric auto-injector trainer pen

Challenge

A pharmaceutical client asked us to create a sustainable trainer auto-injector pen for better onboarding patients.

Approach

Our mechanical engineers, human factor consultants and designers researched needs from the different user groups, including healthcare professionals (HCPs). We created new instructions for the trainer pen, simplified its mechanics to reduce component parts while designing a robust trainer pen suitable for repeated use.

Outcome

Together with the client, we created a patient-centric training coach. The device’s clear instruction labels promote an easy and consistent training experience for both patients and HCPs. The trainer pen has only four steps, a simple design and low component count. The result is a robust demonstrator engineered with sustainability in mind.

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trainer-pen-with-instructions-for-use

Helping patients
practice injection

Injecting yourself for the first time can be frightening. Trainer injector pens are designed to effectively assist patients in practising self-injection. Trainer devices are crucial tools used to improve patient adherence and help HCPs ensure their patients can administer treatment correctly.

The client came to Team Consulting with an existing trainer auto-injector pen. Their goal was to improve the trainer’s usability, ensuring patients had the best possible training experience while simplifying the mechanics to create a sustainable, yet robust device.

Patient-centric instructions for use

We decided to focus on the key steps from the trainer pen’s instructions for use:

1 – Mix
2 – Unlock
3 – Unscrew
4 – Inject

We took advantage of the pen’s four-side geometry to add these key steps directly onto the device. The result is a trainer pen with clear and concise sequential labelling, making it easy for users to follow instructions. The new labelling promotes correct use of the device, including turning the pen upside down before injection.

The device’s instructions were greatly improved to facilitate user onboarding, allowing them to replicate the mechanism of the actual auto-injector while ensuring an easy re-set by following the four set-up steps in reverse, ready for the next patient to be trained.

We had to create a seamless experience to reduce user error and ensure that the trainer provided patients with the confidence needed to use the ‘real’ injector correctly.

Tom Etheridge, Senior Industrial Design Consultant, Team Consulting

Designing a trainer auto-injector pen with
sustainability in mind

During this project, together with our client, we focused on usability, simplifying not only the IFU but also the mechanical requirements. The training coach was built using the minimum possible component parts, all made from the same material. This saved 24 components per device and based on producing roughly 10, 000 devices per year, a total yearly reduction of 240, 000 components, considerably reducing the quantity of material used and meeting the client’s sustainability goals.

components of an auto injector trainer pen on a lab bench

In reducing the number of parts and limiting the materials for all of the internal mechanism, we had to ensure that the trainer pen remained robust, especially due to the nature of the device which can be used multiple times to train patients until they feel confident with the injection process.

Georgia Halstead, Consultant Mechanical Engineer, Team Consulting

Collaboration

Team Consulting was brought in early in the project which allowed the trainer pen to be designed in an agile manner. We worked seamlessly with the client by developing a deep understanding of their requirements and challenges. Collaborating closely together meant that the muti-disciplinary project team took ownership of the work, ensuring the delivery of a fast, high-quality product through a fully remote, but harmonious collaboration.

image-of-medical-device-consultants-meeting-and-brainstorming-ideas-2

Outcome

This patient-centric trainer pen effectively onboards and trains users, while its simple and cost-efficient yet robust mechanics are designed for repeated use. The training coach is now ready to be launched onto the market.

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