Research+Strategy, Industrial Design, Engineering
Design a Humidifier that Works in any Hospital Ecosystem
Humidifiers play an important role in respiratory care to emulate the right balance of temperature and humidity that exists naturally within healthy human lungs. However, they are often overlooked equipment in contrast to ventilators within the artificial respiratory system. Hamilton Medical partnered with RKS to expand their business portfolio beyond ventilators through the addition of advanced humidifiers. The goal was to create humidifiers which would work seamlessly within an existing or new ventilation system, to set a new benchmark in the quality of ventilation care.
Understand Humidifier Requirements through Study of the Hospital Environment
Armed with the existing in-house expertise of the ventilator category, RKS’ team of researchers, strategists and designers sought to further gather a broad understanding of the ventilation system and a deeper understanding of humidifiers. The team interviewed stakeholders and subject-matter experts to understand the business challenges of entering a new category as well as desires for a technologically-advanced humidifier. Ethnographic interviews in five different hospitals along with competitive product audits were conducted, supplemented by panel discussions with respiratory therapists and nurses to identify major pain-points and needs. Discoveries found that visual, ergonomic and spatial clutter present in the current humidifier offerings were obstacles to providing speed, safety, security and sophistication in patient care. An improved solution would need to deliver an integrated system with adaptability to different environments, less parts and higher ease of use; intuitive controls with simple, friendly and uncluttered solutions in a compact and ergonomic design; and better overall performance through higher reliability, safety and easier maintenance. The team created multiple design configurations and prototypes, conducting ergonomic studies to eventually select a design configuration which was refined iteratively for finalization.
The Easiest and Most Durable Humidifier on the Market
The HAMILTON-H900 humidifier was created through a strong collaborative exchange between Hamilton and RKS teams that pushes the boundaries of technology integration and new business models, not existent in the present category. One of its major innovations is that it is comprised of only two components: the humidifier base and the pre-assembled wall-heated breathing set. The unique combination of having all connections on a humidifier in a single breathing set provides the highest level of ergonomics. Its wall-heated, all-in one breathing circuits together with its adjustable temperature and humidity setting reduce “cable spaghetti”, providing optimal rain-out control, reducing the risk of cross-contamination by eliminating the need to open the circuit to drain condensate. It is an easy-to-handle humidification system which allows one-handed operation and comes pre-assembled and ready to use. It enables a highly intuitive operation through its ergonomic and accessible user interface. The breathing set can be used up to 4 weeks on a patient, reducing the total cost of ownership and saving money that can be reinvested in other important parts of patient care.