As the need for at home self-administration and routes for delivery of time-dependent and high-volume drug delivery grows, on-body injectors and connected devices hold great opportunity. SAE Media Group’s inaugural Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices USA Conference, which takes place in Boston September 13–14, 2023, will delve into on-body device design and development, the latest advances in connectivity and digital integration of wearable devices, and opportunities for enhancement of user-interface through human factors case studies. SAE spoke with conference speaker Alexandra Benbadis, Usability Leader at Sanofi, about her insights on this vital market.
The wearable injectors and connected devices market has grown rapidly over the past few years. What key differences have you noticed in the last year regarding significant developments?
Alexandra Benbadis: I think wearable injectors are becoming more mainstream and less intimidating as a delivery device. Years ago, we could only talk about vial and syringe — then we got prefilled syringes. Once we got comfortable talking about prefilled syringes, we got autoinjectors — and now we have wearable injectors. For many years in my career, the question was “prefilled syringe or autoinjector?” Now it’s becoming “prefilled syringe, autoinjector, or wearable injector?” I just think it’s great that they’re becoming part of the conversation. On the other hand, connected devices have been mainstream in consumer spaces for quite some time. Between fitness trackers, smartphones, and smart appliances, I think we expect everything to be connected now. Healthcare products obviously are not going to be the exception. Like wearable injectors, I think connected healthcare products are more mainstream now — and I think some manufacturers feel pressured to always have an element of connectivity even without proof that intended users need it.
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry at the moment?
AB: For wearable injectors, I think a big challenge in the human factors space is user acceptance. Wearable injectors are unlike any other type of injection device, so users’ mental models will be disrupted when they handle a wearable injector for the first time. This, of course, can lead to some use issues like not knowing where the needle is, which could make using a wearable injector pretty intimidating. If we don’t equip our users with the right tools to get comfortable with wearable injectors (e.g., intuitive products, robust training), they might prefer using other injectors that are more “tried and true” even if they offer fewer benefits.
What current hot topic will you be addressing in your presentation, and what would you say makes it relevant to 2023?
AB: My presentation is about human factors best practices and considerations for wearable injectors, with a focus on how to con- duct productive early-stage usability studies and successful design validation studies. We have a regulatory imperative to design safe and effective products for our patients, so human factors is always relevant!
How would you like to see the market develop in the future, and where do you think the biggest growth area will be in 2023?
AB: Aside from [continuous glucose monitors], I think every wearable injector I’ve seen still requires patients to sit still while receiving their injection. I’d love to see wearables that give patients more mobility during their injections so that their treatment would have less of an impact on their schedule, activities, and quality of life. A lot of the world is focused on addressing climate change, so I hope that we’ll see growth in more sustainable manufacturing processes and materials usage.
And on a final note ... Why do you feel it is important for the industry to join this year’s conference?
AB: The way I learn about the industry is talking to people at these conferences. We can’t grow as an industry without communicating and sharing our ideas. If you want to be part of the change (or at least get a front row seat to it), you need to be in the room.
To register for the conference, visit here .