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Minimally Invasive Cancer Treatment

NeuWave hired Gomoll Research + Design to design the user interface for their first product, a medical device used to deliver microwave energy for ablating soft tissue, such as tumors. The touch screen UI is mounted on a bedside cart with detachable probes. The probes are inserted into the target tissue, and the touch screen is used to determine the timing and the energy levels for ablation. The procedure requires only the smallest incisions, allowing patients to recover quickly and helping physicians manage diseases in the sensitive tissue areas of the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

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Prior to NeuWave’s innovations, medical device companies were using either cryo energy or radio frequency energy to destroy soft tissue. They asked GRD to help them leapfrog the competition by designing a UI that would take advantage of touch screen technology and people’s familiarity with smartphones and tablets.

During the discovery phase of our project, GRD observed radio frequency ablation cases as well as cryo ablation cases, documenting each step taken and studying how clinicians used the existing tools and how they thought through their treatment decisions.

These observations helped us understand the ablation process using currently available technologies. We also interviewed several interventional radiologists to understand the most critical tasks in their workflow and the hurdles they faced to perform a successful procedure. They needed a tool that was easier to see, use, and understand, all while operating a touch screen.



After analyzing the field research and the business needs, and before addressing any visual or interaction needs, we developed a blueprint for a UI structure that the NeuWave team converted to a touch screen UI prototype. We validated the new workflow with target users.

Using an iterative design process, we ensured the final visuals provided doctors with the ability to react to highly detailed anatomical images, to make critical decisions, and confidently choose a solution for each patient.

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The NeuWave ablation device met positive reviews. Instead of confronting obstacles in the device design, physicians could focus on improving treatment. A year after the design was released, they came back to GRD with a new feature set, asking to incorporate the changes elegantly into the proven user experience and design, and maintaining a lead on the competition.

“This was true human-centered design, resulting in simplified, guided workflow and repeat business.”

- Kate Gomoll