CPAP Devices: A Great Example of Device & Packaging Design Failure?
I recently came across a YouTube video issued by the FDA to advise people about using CPAP machines. It made me wonder. If the FDA feels the need to issue videos to people using these machines, does that indicate the packaging is not clear enough for the market?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are very commonly used in the home environment (as well as in hospitals) by people who have difficulty breathing during the night. They are used to prevent sleep apnoea, especially in the elderly and obese populations.
This video discusses issues of use, maintenance, instructions, etc. It tells us that the devices can be "difficult and problematic to use." It discusses the fitting of the mask -- "Never tape the mask to the face." There must be a real usability issue if patients feel the need to tape a mask to their face.
The FDA says in the video that "filters and chambers may harbour bacteria" and should be cleaned regularly. If there are so many issues with using and maintaining such devices, shouldn't MDMs be looking at repackaging these systems and ensuring that they are user friendly, effective, hygienic, and easy to maintain?
Sleep apnoea is not an insignificant condition. These devices are used not only to prevent snoring but also to increase sleep quality, and there is evidence that this condition can contribute to sudden cardiac death. But the machines are ugly and bulky, and patients who use them tend to look like creatures in a Star Trek episode.
Is this one therapy area where MDMs have forgotten the user?