Collaborative Development of Medical Devices: Qualitative Study of Communication Between Engineers and Medical Doctors
Background: While research shows the importance of the interdisciplinary collaboration between medical doctors and engineers to successfully develop medical devices, there is scarce literature specifically exploring what makes these partnerships work. This paper examines the gap between engineers and medical doctors by exploring the enablers, barriers and difficulties of their collaboration and communication through the qualitative case study method.
Methods: This pilot study explores the experiences of two surgery residents and three engineers in training who have had the collaborative work experiences in medical device design. Data sources include interviews, lab observations, and interview notebooks. The interviews were conducted with engineering students at UBC who have had work experience with clinicians/ residents and surgery residents who have had work experiences with engineers.
Conclusion: While maintaining a successful collaboration is challenging, engineers and residents were both interested to continue collaboration and emphasized the importance of collaboration in designing medical devices. There is no question that there are hurdles in the communication between these two professional groups, such as knowledge deficiency, differing priorities and lack of sufficiently dedicated time; however, both groups found collaboration necessary and effective in the whole process of developing medical device technology.