Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation. Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation.
Boston Scientific

Bringing Patients & Physicians Closer from a Distance

Skills Used
Industrial Design, Prototyping, Research & Strategy, Engineering, User Experience & Interface Design

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat that, if left untreated, can lead to blood clots, stroke or heart failure. According to the American Heart Association, it’s a condition that affects an estimated 2.7 million people. Given the prevalence and severity of AF, it’s no surprise that the treatment has historically been a leading mission of Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm Management team.

Throughout their process of inventing new treatments for remedying and managing AF, Boston Scientific tapped Worrell to create consumer-centric medical products. Beginning in 1999, Worrell and Boston Scientific paired up to develop a handheld device, called the Patient Activator, which allows patients to detect an AF event and administer a shock via an implanted cardiac defibrillator. In 2005, Boston Scientific asked Worrell to collaborate in the design of a user-facing Remote Communicator System. The system would serve as a connection between a patient and the clinician, remotely broadcasting alerts from the patient’s cardiac device to the clinician. Though a continuous work-in-progress, the development of these life-sustaining devices is ongoing with the help of Boston Scientific’s forward-thinking technological developments and Worrell’s user-centered designs.

Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation.
Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation.
Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation.

Our Approach

With the help of Worrell’s Human Factors team, design researchers evaluated early models of proposed user-interfaces by testing prototypes with users and clinicians in remote care settings. One remote care product required daily use by the patient and provided accurate, real-time reporting to the clinician. With a lack of existing devices, this system required careful attention to identifying all possible risks and use-case scenarios, which were evaluated and resolved for using a combination of observations, behavioral assessments and prototyping.

Key Activities

Ideation Workshops

Trend Analyses

Ethnographic Research

Emerging Market Research

Clinician Workflow Analysis

User Documentaries

Digital Mockups

User Interface Design

User Experience Testing

Illustrations

Industrial Design Concepts

Appearance Models

Functional Prototyping

Ergonomic Assessments

Results

The Latitude Communicator uses wireless telemetry to pull data from an implanted cardiac device, sending the data to a website for a cardiologist to review. This device reduced patient visits from four times a year to one, freeing clinicians and improving the care of many elderly and remote patients. More than 160,000 patients have been enrolled in the Latitude program in the United States alone, with many more benefitting in Europe and other emerging markets.

Design, engineering and prototyping of devices to treat Atrial fibrillation.

Update

In 2009, Boston Scientific released The Latitude iPhone Application that allows physicians to get Latitude alerts on their iPhones. Worrell again consulted with Boston Scientific on the project, identifying critical workflow needs by conducting additional ethnographic research with electrophysiologists.

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