The role of ergonomics in the design of an intravenous therapy (IV) set for neonatal intensive care

Armagan Albayrak, Myra Vreede, Luuk Evers, Richard Goossens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Intravenous therapy (IV therapy) refers to a treatment in which medication and nutrition is provided patients via a system that infuses these fluids directly into the patient’s bloodstream. Patients that are admitted to intensive care facilities, often require infusion of multiple fluids as physical systems fail to operate as intended. IV therapy administers drugs and nutrition into the patient’s bloodstream by connecting tubing, through which fluids can be transported, to the vein. The smallest fluctuations in dosages or drug administration delays have severe consequences for the new-born infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. This study focuses on the development of an innovative IV set based on a new principle for merging various drugs and nutrition, called “Tulive”. A user-centred approach was applied during the whole design process, including analysis of the complex healthcare context, literature study, observations & interviews with the different stakeholders and mainly its key user the ‘nursing staff’, contextual design models & methods, generative sessions and multiple user feedback sessions, etc. Main themes that were uncovered include: product-user communication in terms of simplistic & unambiguous use cues, a sense of feedback regarding product related actions on multiple levels, user confidence to positively influence product interaction and inconveniences with fluid flow distinction. Multiple design iterations have been performed where the needs, expectations and limitations of the user in context played a central role and motivated the design decisions made during the process. All these insights were translated and integrated in the final design proposal, “Tulive”. A name that relates to the aesthetic design, the tulip shape that aims to conceal the complexity and suggest operation in a user-friendly way. The value of user-centered design lies in the increased product acceptance that can be achieved after new product implementation. In designing for healthcare, barriers that impede successful product acceptance can most often be attributed to the fact that majority of the medical products are not designed according to the needs, expectations and limitations of the medical professionals. Centralizing the intended user of the product during the design phases and allowing user input and contextual factors to shape the design in a systematic way will help evade these barriers and support product acceptance of any innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018) - Volume I
Subtitle of host publicationHealthcare Ergonomics
EditorsS. Bagnara, R. Tartaglia, S. Albolino, T. Alexander, Y. Fujita
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-96098-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-96097-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event IEA 2018: 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association - Florence, Italy
Duration: 26 Aug 201830 Aug 2018
Conference number: 20

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357


Conference IEA 2018: 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association
Abbreviated title IEA 2018


  • Ergonomics
  • Healthcare innovation
  • User-centered design


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