Bridging Design Gaps – Summarizing Our Loop Comparison

Ah, the Circle of Progress has made yet another revolution!  We’ve gone through one full iteration of our Generic Problem-Solving Loop.  We’ve looked at things from our Engineer’s perspective as well as from our Physician’s perspective.  What did we find?

In case you haven’t been following all of the recent articles in this series, please indulge me one last time as I refresh our memories on where we’ve been…

We started by asking the question: Why do Engineers and Physicians fail to collaborate effectively when developing innovative medical technology?  As we all start out as basic scientists with essentially similar early training paths, where does our communication derail?  We began our journey by defining a common model that both our Engineer and our Physician could use:

Generic Problem-Solving Model

We then examined how our Engineer and our Physician approached each of these individual steps in a side-by-side comparison.  Many things were similar, but we did find some differences:

So where are our differences?  If we boil everything down and just look at the discrepancies, this is what we get:


Both engineers and physicians face rules.  And budgets.  And bureaucracy.  These may look different, but both groups have their own demons to manage within their fields.  And while engineers and physicians may have different things in their respective toolbags, they each still have a toolbag that works well for them.  If we’re all going to work together more efficiently, we have to remind ourselves that each hurdle we see probably has an analog on the other side of that fence.  Planning ahead and reaching out to each other early in the developement process makes jumping these hurdles so much easier.

If we leave the obvious technical expertise differences aside, much of what we see relates to the variability of individuals.  While engineering systems may be finicky at times, they don’t have that bonus feature of Free Will.  As we mentioned in a previous article, if you tell a computer not to eat Twinkies and smoke cigarettes, the computer will probably do what you’ve asked it to do.  People, on the other hand, are not beholden to any given line of code or instruction.  Patients make choices—some good, some bad, some dictated by outside forces.  Doctors have to find ways to “fireproof” patient care so that patients are more likely to comply with good choices.  How can we help them do that?

In 2020, the Michigan-based firm in2being asked The Lonely Surgeon to talk about some of the patient care issues that physicians face during their “From the Frontline” segment on their weekly webinar.  We talked about some general areas in patient care that could use a little innovation.  We’ll mention them in our final article just to spark a little discussion around that age-old question: Where do we go from here?

Until then…


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