With hospitals, insurers and government agencies backing initiatives to move patients out of hospitals and back home on the fast track, designers and manufacturers of medical devices are facing the challenge of adapting sophisticated medical equipment for the home environment. James D. Wilson, senior industrial designer for design firm Continuum LLC of Newton has been working with various manufacturers to design products such as monitoring equipment and CPAP devices to make them more suitable for what Continuum calls the Hospital of One. Wilson shares his thoughts on the trends in designing home-environment medical devices with Mass High Tech Editor James M. Connolly.
MHT: Where did the term Hospital of One originate?
Wilson: In the last couple of years we have worked on a lot of projects where companies have been moving technology and systems out of the hospital and into the home. It’s related to the need for infection control and the cost of health care. We’ve heard from hospitals who see a day when there are no patients actually in the hospital. We saw where hundreds of patients that would have been in the hospital are at home, but they have all the same requirements that they would have in the hospital. Basically you are turning a patient’s home into a hospital, and you start to see things very much as individualized care rather than mass care.