Great product design requires a deep understanding of both the user and the context in which they interact with your product. Human factors research, in particular, plays a significant role in optimizing the usability and safety of medical devices. 

But investing in human factors research can be expensive, and med-tech companies in the diabetes space may be unsure of how to maximize their return on investment. So whether you are considering in-house or specialized research firm investments, read on for tips to maximize the ROI of human factors research. 

Tip 1: Start early and integrate human factors research into the product development process

Starting human factors research early in the product development process can help maximize the return on investment (ROI) and save time and money in the long run. Conducting research in the early stages, such as concept testing, can help identify user needs and preferences, and provide valuable insights into the design of medical technology devices. In general, integrating human factors research into the product development process can help build user empathy and ensure that the resulting MedTech products are safe, effective, and meet the needs of the target users.


Tip 2: Identify key user groups and tailor research to their specific needs

Historically, human factors research has focused on quotas and speed - oftentimes de-prioritizing the need for quality research participants. At Thrivable, we believe that quality insights are dependent on quality participants, which is why we invest heavily in recruitment that brings in qualified participants. For effective human factors research, you need a few things:

  • Comprehensive authentication process to reduce bots
  • Condition-specific screeners to narrow the pool down to only participants that meet your criteria
  • Quality review process to ensure the insights you get are effective and actionable


Tip 3: Use a variety of research methods to gather comprehensive data

By using a mix of methods, you can gather rich and varied data that provides a holistic view of the user experience. There are several qualitative research methods that can be used in Human Factors - the choice of research methodology depends on the research question, the stage of product development, and the characteristics of the target users. A few methodologies to consider are:

  • Focus groups gather user feedback in the early stages of development
  • Usability testing evaluates specific tasks
  • Surveys collect data from many users
  • In-home product testing observes product use in daily life

Overall, a combination of research methods can be used to provide a comprehensive understanding of the user experience and to identify any usability issues or areas for improvement.


Tip 4: Analyze and interpret data effectively to inform product design decisions

Companies should constantly monitor user feedback and use it to validate the accuracy of their research results. This ensures that product development decisions are based on accurate data and can help inform future research investments. 

Effective data analysis involves identifying patterns, trends, and themes in the data, and using them to draw meaningful conclusions. It also involves triangulating data from different sources to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings. 


Tip 5: Continuously evaluate and refine research processes to optimize ROI

Thoughtful human factors research requires rigorous evaluation and refinement. One effective way to evaluate research processes is to conduct post-project reviews, which involve reviewing the research process, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and developing an improvement plan. Companies can also conduct benchmarking studies to compare their research processes to industry standards and identify best practices.


In conclusion, maximizing the ROI of human factors research requires a strategic approach that starts early in the product development process, focuses on quality participants, uses various research methods, effectively analyzes and interprets data, and continuously evaluates and refines research processes. 

By following these tips and investing in human factors research, MedTech companies in the diabetes space can build products that are safe, effective, and meet the needs of their target users. With a deep understanding of the user and their context, companies can design products that not only improve the lives of their users but also deliver a significant return on investment.

About the author

Adam Zandman

Adam Zandman

Adam, Thrivable's Marketing Director, is a passionate advocate for improving the patient experience, driving companies to prioritize the patient voice in their decisions