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Generator G11 User Experience (UX)
Winner - Gold
Designer: Smart Design, Design Team and Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Gen11 Development Team
Design Type: Product, medical
Equipment in the operating room can be complex and intimidating, prompting the need for intuitive technology that helps OR nurses focus more on patient care. We combined the functionality of two existing surgical tools into a single, easy-to-use interface for surgeons, scrub nurses, circulating nurses, and hospital technicians. Meaningful audio feedback assists with surgical procedures and on-screen diagnostics help resolve errors efficiently. Its simplicity stands in contrast highly technical equipment that demands extensive training. Capital equipment designated for surgery undergoes a rigorous design, engineering, and FDA clearance process. New designs may take three to five years before they are released into the market. The manufacturer leveraged this timeline to collect and understand feedback from prior versions of the tool. We worked collaboratively with the manufacturer to understand and analyze these user insights, which enabled us to develop an experience that would remain relevant for the next decade. The UI design would need to deliver vital information at the right time for each individual user, harnessing the complex technology inside but communicating it clearly and simply to the user for their task at hand. For instance, when surgeons and nurses encountered a problem with the old generator they used look-up tables to solve it. This process takes time. We wanted them to troubleshoot the problem quickly, and then get back to their first priority: patient care. Our solution included a large and easy-to-clean capacitive touch panel to display vivid, instructive text and diagrams. The on-screen touch interface, used outside of the sterile field, provides surgeons with clear power settings that are easy to read from a distance. The instructive feature also eliminates the need for complicated lookup tables of error conditions. The carefully calibrated, integrated audio cues provide critical support for surgeons during a procedure. Meaningful audio feedback reduces a new surgeon’s learning curve and makes the devices more intuitive to operate. On-screen diagnostics help nurses resolve error conditions efficiently. The introduction of the Generator G11 has been met with positive reviews from surgeons and nurses around the world. Surgeons laud the easy-to-understand sound design cues that cut through the noisy OR environment. Nurses appreciate the simplified setup and the fact that errors are clear and easy to solve with large, animated visual diagrams and step-by-step instructions. Technicians like the fact that the device tracks usage while prompting replacements and upkeep. The first Generator G11 was used in the US by Janice Rafferty, MD, a colorectal surgeon at University of Cincinnati Department of Surgery. Rafferty said, “[I] love the new generator tones, and the staff thought the set up was very easy! Looking forward to using it again." Overall, the Generator G11 is an outstanding and highly sought-out addition to the OR, where its simplicity stands in stark comparison to the dozens of pieces of highly technical equipment that command high levels of attention and training.