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Project III: User Needs

Themes: To develop methods capable of the accurate assessment of user needs and to present this data in such a way that it can be used by industry to produce products that will be improved from the users’ perspective and therefore lead to better health care provision.Project III User Needs

Description:  To research the means, ease and value of assessing user needs requirements in the various stages of medical device development.  The starting assumption is that methods to perform the necessary assessment are already well documented but for various reasons there are barriers to their widespread acceptance.  The plan is to perform case studies to demonstrate how these methods can be tailored to specific products and then assess the value of the information gained and present this in a form that can be used by industry.


  • Evaluation of the appropriateness of the use of proxies in user needs assessment; and measure of any degree of systematic bias that this introduces.
  • Develop means for the conversion of qualitative and rich, user needs data into quantitative metrics and subsequently into QALYs.
  • Foster engagement with health economists to consider the incorporation of user needs data into health economic models.
  • Develop methods for the elicitation of priors from non "expert" experts (ie patients who know and understand their own conditions and problems but have little knowledge or experience of statistics)
  • Utilise a "Bayesian" approach to fuse (prior) data gathered from patients and experts; and then update this when experimental data is obtained.

Strategy: Work on case studies using specific medical devices to address the above objectives.  Medical devices differ widely; some of the issues may be more or less relevant.  Thus case studies must be chosen to provide broad coverage of the medical device domain.