OPIVA Refined

Kate Weatherly

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Existing literature demonstrates little understanding of how the medical devices that make up the OPIVA system could be improved. ‘OPIVA Refined’ explored how human-centred design (HCD) methods could be incorporated into redesigning Te Whatu Ora’s Waitematā’s OPIVA service.

Kate’s research has been centred on an antibiotic treatment service based out of Te Whatu Ora Waitematā called; OPIVA. Outpatient intravenous antibiotic therapies (OPIVA) is a service that helps patients manage serious infections requiring antibiotic treatment at home rather than in a hospital. For many medical devices, clinical staff were the primary users. However, patients using OPIVA must learn how to operate the OPIVA treatment system on their own (or with the help of a family member or district nurse). Managing the OPIVA system involves changing the elastomeric infuser every 24 hours.

In this project, primary research was conducted with previous OPIVA patients, OPIVA clinical staff and a previous patient expert user. The research focused on improving the usability, aesthetics and ergonomics of the infuser and redesigning the storage bag to be wearable under clothing. Along with the redesign of these elements, this research proposed a new system to replace the surgical tape used to hold the IV lines in place on the patient’s arm, which could help to increase the accessibility and ease of use of the system. Participants were able to provide feedback on these concepts during expert critique sessions throughout the research, which helped inform the design process and validate the design outcomes.

Many medical device development processes often fail to include patients as stakeholders in the design process. In the past, the prevailing viewpoints on medical product design focused on reducing production costs while maintaining patient health outcomes. OPIVA Refined explored how patients could be more directly involved in the medical device design process. This project set a precedent for demonstrating how medical device usability could be improved while also advocating for the inclusion of patient experiences in future medical design research. Kate’s project was recognised with a Bronze Pin at the Best Awards in Student Product.