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Heuristics for designing user‐centric drug products: Lessons learned from Human Factors and Ergonomics

Feufel, Markus A.; Rauwolf, Gudrun; Meier, Felix C.; Karapinar‐Çarkit, Fatma; Heibges, Maren

Even the most effective drug product may be used improperly and thus ultimately prove ineffective if it does not meet the perceptual, motor and cognitive capacities of its target users. Currently, no comprehensive guideline for systematically designing user‐centric drug products that would help prevent such limitations exists. We have compiled a list of approximate but nonetheless useful strategies—heuristics—for implementing a user‐centric design of drug products and drug product portfolios. First, we present a general heuristic for user‐centric design based on the framework of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E). Then we demonstrate how to implement this general heuristic for older drug users (i.e., patients and caregivers aged 65 years and older) and with respect to three specific challenges (use‐cases) of medication management: (A) knowing what drug product to take/administer, (B) knowing how and when to take/administer it, and (C) actually taking/administering it. The presented heuristics can be applied prospectively to include existing knowledge about user‐centric design at every step during drug discovery, pharmaceutical drug development, and pre‐clinical and clinical trials. After a product has been released to the market, the heuristics may guide a retrospective analysis of medication errors and barriers to product usage as a basis for iteratively optimizing both the drug product and its portfolio over their life cycle.
Published in: British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 10.1111/bcp.14134, Wiley