Waikato Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has assisted leading designer, manufacturer and marketer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in the release of a nationally and internationally award winning healthcare product for infants.
The product, Optiflow Junior, is a revolutionary humidified nasal flow system for providing oxygen therapy to infants who have trouble breathing. It is designed specifically for the delicate features and oxygen flow requirements of neonatal and pediatric patients.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare met with NICU staff at Waikato Hospital once a week for almost two years to test Optiflow Junior. They would bring prototypes and ask staff and patients’ parents for feedback on the product.
“Existing nasal flow systems have been in use for 40 years; however, they had to be held on a baby’s face with tape,” Fisher & Paykel Healthcare senior clinical research scientist Dr Geoff Bold said.
“Typically our engineers would bring in prototype products and ask for feedback from NICU. It’s difficult for the engineers to know what features have the most value without input from those who actually have to make it work for the babies in a medical environment,” he said.
NICU staff praised the way Fisher & Paykel Healthcare listened to their expertise and took their feedback on board.
“They respected that we as nurses have valuable input into how the product could work and how safe it is. The new product has enhanced patient comfort, safety, and ability to deliver better treatment,” associate charge nurse manager Jenni Richards said.
The product won a Gold and Purple Pin at the New Zealand Best Design Awards. It also received an International Forum Award and a Red Dot Award, both of which are prestigious international product design competitions based in Germany.
More recently Optiflow Junior won a silver award at the prestigious 2013 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) in the United States.
NICU has received a certificate of appreciation from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare for outstanding involvement in assisting with the new product.
“Fisher & Paykel Healthcare are all about improving patient outcomes and we know that Waikato Hospital is working towards improved patient outcomes too. It helps knowing we’re on the same page,” Dr Bold said.
“It’s exciting for nurses to be a part of a product improvement initiative throughout the process, with all parties sharing the goal of improved patient care,” nurse educator Leanne Baker said.
A growing number of babies are using Optiflow Junior around the world including in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, the United States and Canada.
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