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Meet the designer behind Philips' award-winning LumiGuide

In conversation with Volker Verschoor – How collaborative design led LumiGuide to award-winning heights

Jul 02, 2024 | 4 minute read

As Philips' LumiGuide reaches new award-winning heights with a Red Dot Best of the Best award in the category ‘Innovative Products’, we met with Volker Verschoor, the mind behind the Design.

Philips LumiGuide

From research to targeted release, Volker helped us understand what role Philips Experience Design played in shaping this '3D device guidance' innovation, now recognized by one of the biggest design competitions in the world.

Usually, during minimally invasive surgeries, doctors have to rely on live X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) to help them navigate interventional devices such as catheters inside the patient’s body. But real-time X-ray fluoroscopy comes with radiation risks for both patients and physicians and only provides grayscale, 2D images of these devices.

LumiGuide – powered by Philips’ unique Fiber Optic RealShape (FORS) technology – changes the game by allowing doctors to see their guidewires and catheters in 3D and color as they navigate them inside the patient's body, from any angle, in real-time, and with minimal radiation. Philips’ FORS technology simplifies navigation in tortuous vessels (blood vessels that are twisted or winding). Using this advanced solution and technology, complex aortic repair procedures can be done 37% faster and use 70% less X-ray imaging during the process [1][2].

Volker Verschoor

Volker Verschoor

Q: Was there something unique about your design process for this project? What did you do differently?
A: I'd say collaboration, co-creation and early involvement of Philips Experience Design in the project were key to this success. Philips has a long history and culture of innovation with a strong focus on people-centered design. This means that as designers we are often involved from very early on in the development process. This project was no exception. In close collaboration with several hospitals in different countries, and academic, clinical, and industrial partners, we were involved along from research prototype to the actual end product. For instance, we spent the first 18 months bringing mock models and semi-functional prototypes to interventional labs, with constant feedback from physicians, significantly reducing wasted time in iterations.

We also attended aortic procedures that lasted 4 to 6 hours to observe, take notes, and to talk to physicians, technicians, and nurses. One thing you quickly realize is that while your product feels like the center of the world for you, in an interventional lab, it’s just a small part of a much larger system.

You've been part of the FORS project since its inception, more than 10 years ago. What has been the main role of Design throughout this journey?
As designers, we started by helping with surfacing and really understanding the users’ needs. And since healthcare product release cycles tend to be very long and changes are not as easily accepted, we worked really hard on getting things as right as possible, from the first release onwards.
 
If the set-up or use of a new product is too cumbersome, time-consuming or confusing, medical staff will quickly stop using such a product. So, our role has been not only to ensure that the system answers the users’ needs and that it is as easy to use as possible, but also that it is easy to learn and to set up, and more importantly, that it integrates well into existing ways of working. In the end, our main goal is to streamline the product as much as possible so doctors can focus on the procedure and patient, without being distracted by interaction with the system.
 
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
I would say one of the biggest challenges was balancing the integration of LumiGuide with current practices while simultaneously improving them. LumiGuide has the potential to radically transform medical procedures, but changes in healthcare happen gradually due to the industry's cautious approach to changing what is known to work. Another big challenge is that LumiGuide is just one of many tools used in procedures, and the staff assisting the physician often circulate between labs without being trained on all systems. This means the design must be simple to learn, set up, and use, which again, in the case of such a new and disruptive technology, can be extra difficult.

Now that the LumiGuide is a reality, successfully used in the treatment of almost 1000 clinical cases [3] at key sites in both Europe and the USA, and expanding, what’s your role on the project?
Design's role doesn’t stop when a product is released. We constantly update and improve. With LumiGuide scaling up from a limited edition at selected hospitals to a targeted release, we've been focused on enhancing the software, adding automation (AI for example), and refining the UI to streamline the setup process. Later this year, we plan to conduct in-depth world-wide field studies to understand how LumiGuide is actually being used in practice, and how it can help further reduce radiation in complex aortic procedures.

Media contacts

Joost Maltha--Philips External Relations
Joost Maltha
Philips External Relations
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