News | January 09, 2007

GE, BTUC Partner to Improve Safety, Ease of Use of Medical Technologies

Jan. 10, 2007 - The Beaumont Technology Usability Center has entered into a partnership with General Electric Healthcare (GE) to improve the safety and ease of use of the medical technologies produced by the company. The engineers and clinical staff of the Beaumont Technology Usability Center (BTUC) will assist the manufacturer through collaborative product development, usability testing and human factors engineering.

"Most hospitals can provide some level of user preference feedback," says Munesh Makhija, General Manager of Systems & Wireless for GE Healthcare Monitoring Solutions. "The Beaumont Technology Usability Center goes beyond that by assessing the risks and identifying potential device use-errors early in the design process. We have truly come to appreciate the Center's human factors and practitioner expertise, which is helping our company advance its designs."

Strategically located within William Beaumont Hospital, the BTUC's clinical and human factors engineers are able to utilize the resources of the top-rated medical institution to test products for medical manufacturers, provide objective usability feedback and offer recommendations on product enhancements.

"Medical device manufacturers can inadvertently develop product designs that increase the risk of medical error. Such products often get bogged down in the FDA product approval process," says Steve Ebben, Vice President of Planning & Marketing for BTUC. "We take a user-centered approach to help medical device manufacturers develop safe and intuitive medical products and effectively meet the FDA's requirements to demonstrate proactive risk management."

The first collaborative design effort of the two companies is to advance a telemetry monitoring system, a medical device that monitors patients' vital signs and triggers an alarm when a critical arrhythmia is detected. The staff at BTUC is now working with GE to increase the intelligence of the telemetry alarm algorithms and improve the equipment's user interface. With these improvements, GE's product will advance the standard of patient care.

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