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Of the approximately 200,000 spine surgeries performed annually in the US, 12,000 result in postoperative complications ranging from tingling to paralysis. To minimize injury during spine surgery, orthopedists and neurosurgeons are increasingly looking to technology to provide them with higher precision and accuracy. Recognizing this need, Medtronic Navigation, a division of the world’s leading medical technology company, developed a surgical navigation solution for spine surgery that inspires surgeon and patient confidence, promotes efficiency, and minimizes exposure to harmful radiation. With the help of IDEO designers, the company refined their product’s integration into the operating room and created a surgical experience driven by people, rather than

by technology.

IDEO spent three months observing surgeries in various hospitals around the US. The observations led to a deep understanding of the dynamics that occur between various team members in the operating room. With these insights, IDEO designed a graphical and physical interface that provides a clear division of responsibilities and tasks according to the degree of medical expertise possessed by each staff member interacting with the device. Inclusion of a familiar input device and intuitive onscreen controls reduces the required learning curve and improves communication among members of the OR. Stored preferences ensure a personalized experience for each surgeon and increase efficiency throughout the surgery process.

In addition to product and interaction design, IDEO also worked with Medtronic Navigation to establish an in-house sensitivity to human-centered design. This approach has influenced the medical company’s forthcoming computer-assisted surgery systems and applications.


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