Unique diialog service to unlock patient-friendly drug delivery devices

6 November 2017 – A new approach to drug delivery device development is set to transform the experience of patients who face the challenge of regularly injecting themselves as part of their treatment for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Technology and product design firm Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) has applied its unique user insight service diialog™ to an auto-injector to unlock the secrets of creating a truly patient-friendly drug delivery device.

The diialog service throws a spotlight on two measures that suggest how easy or difficult a patient finds using their auto-injector. The first of these is ‘dwell time’ – how long a patient hesitates before actually injecting themselves once they’ve prepared the device. The second measure is ‘cap removal force’, which in the worst-case scenario can lead to a patient accidentally stabbing themselves with the needle during their preparations for injection.

“Our aim is to put the patient at the centre of drug delivery device development,” said Tom Lawrie-Fussey, healthcare digital strategist at CDP. “But to do that you need detailed, reliable information about how a patient uses their auto-injector in the privacy of their own home. A patient might tell their doctor they never miss a dose of their medication – but in reality they might skip some of their injections because they are too awkward to administer.

“Drug delivery device developers are required to meet regulatory human factors requirements. But accurate information about usability and the whole patient experience is also crucial if a great idea is to go beyond those requirements and translate into a successful product that is patient friendly and delivers improved health outcomes. Yet trial users of a new device often tell you what they think you want to hear. With the help of diialog, you can discover what really happens – whether the device is used correctly and the drug is stored at the correct temperature, for example, or whether an elderly patient struggles to remove the cap.”

The miniature sensing technology used by diialog is small enough to fit inside an existing clinical trial injector and can monitor a range of key factors such as orientation, preparation sequence and injection technique. Another crucial element is the sophisticated algorithms that analyse the data and translate it into an accurate picture of how a device is being used in the real world. The technology is even programmed to ignore ‘false positives’, such as movements due to patients carrying their device around in their bag.

“With diialog we can translate a stream of data into valuable information for our clients to enable them to make more informed investment decisions,” said Tom. “It complements their existing research techniques and can help minimise the risks, especially for pharma companies facing the challenge of migrating to device development. As well as auto-injectors, diialog could be used in the development of any other drug delivery devices as well as over-the-counter diagnostic products such as pregnancy tests – and it has already been successfully deployed in the cosmetics and sports industries.

“Another benefit of diialog is that it can provide a practical stepping stone for companies that are new to connected device development. Our clients are able to quickly assess the return on investment for their own specific product requirements – and hence de-risk their connected device development pathway. A diialog user trial enables them to select the sensors, on-board processing and data connectivity features that generate the most value – and avoid investing in technology options that ultimately won’t give them sufficient patient adoption.”

The CDP team will be demonstrating its diialog technology – and showcasing its novel Klarus drug delivery system – at PDA’s Universe of Pre-filled Syringes and Injection Devices event, 7-8 November, at the Austria Center Vienna, stand X92. CDP partner Jez Clements will also be presenting the diialog story and its latest results alongside Markus Bauss, managing director of SHL Connect, during the pre-conference workshop on Connected Health & Drug Delivery on 6 November. They will be exploring how the technology can enable even deeper understanding of human factors in design.

Notes for editors
Cambridge Design Partnership is a technology and product design partner focused on helping clients grow their businesses. Some of the world’s largest companies trust CDP to develop their most important innovations. Located in both Cambridge (UK) and in Palo Alto, California (US), CDP specialises in the consumer products, healthcare, energy and industrial equipment markets. Its multidisciplinary staff have the expert knowledge to identify opportunities and tackle the challenges its clients face. For more information, visit: www.cambridge-design.co.uk

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