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January 12, 2017

Smart packaging can help patients with more user friendly instructions

Instruction leaflets are confusing at the best of times. But they could be a matter of life and death if you’ve just been diagnosed with a chronic disease and suddenly need to learn fast how to inject yourself with vital medication. So why not make a ‘smart’ and interactive packaging, guiding a user step by step.

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That is just what product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants went and did: a smart packaging concept. AudioPack augments the usual instructions for use with audio messages that are triggered by touch-sensitive paper packaging. The aim is to give patients extra guidance and support to help overcome their initial fears of starting a new treatment. The ‘talking’ packaging is designed to help them through those first few weeks.

Danger for health

Poorly understood instructions can be very dangerous. They can lead to drugs being mistakenly misused and treatment being less effective – putting a patient’s health in danger. This is particularly true when a patient has been newly diagnosed with a chronic condition such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

“From our extensive interviews with patients learning to use various medical devices with packaging and instruction leaflets, we know that traditional instructions can be difficult to read and learn from – often, a patient doesn’t even know where to start,” said Adam Haynes, a senior industrial designer at Cambridge Consultants. “Our deep expertise in industrial design and human factors gives us the perfect insight to create a packaging system that is more intuitive and much less intimidating for patients.”

User-friendly, approachable design

The goal with AudioPack is to transform medical treatment through user-friendly, approachable design, adds Haynes – ultimately improving effectiveness and benefiting the whole healthcare ecosystem. Audiopack delivers instructions through an avatar named Ana, who guides the patient through step-by-step use of their new medical device – an injector, for example.

The intuitive design aims to simplify the treatment process for less tech-savvy users or patients with cognitive issues caused by their disease. As well as improving the patient experience, AudioPack may help cut clinical costs – reducing the time doctors and nurses need to spend instructing patients on their new medications.

Training tool

Beyond disease management, smart medical packaging could be used as a training tool for healthcare staff. It also has the potential to reduce errors and anxiety when a device is required for use in an emergency situation.  Cambridge Consultants demonstrated its AudioPack technology earlier this month during the CES 2017, January 5-8, in Las Vegas.

###Camebridge###

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