ALYX® – Making Blood Collection Mobile
Fenwal (formerly a division of Baxter Healthcare) wanted to develop a new-to-the-world portable, automated blood collection technology that would increase the efficiency and output of each donation to twice the normal amount of desired components. Insight helped Fenwal develop a mobile system that can be used easily and efficiently in a variety of environments without the support found in a typical clinic. ALYX® is currently the only system that combines two-unit collection, portable apheresis and an icon-based touch screen interface that supports flexible and efficient workflows in a wide variety of environments around the world.
To ensure ease of use, Insight developed an icon-based user interface for the system with global applications. The design balances an icon-based visual language with a system that is easy to learn, flexible to use, efficient and safe. A key part of the success of the program was iterative testing, refinement and development, both of the physical device itself and the user interface. Frequent touches with primary and secondary users across the U.S. and Europe ensured that the team was on track with the needs of mobile apheresis. Evaluation sessions guided by simulated scenarios of use, “think-alouds” feedback protocols and in-depth interviews uncovered important areas of opportunity for improving the physical and cognitive human factors.
Existing Technology- With a Twist
In parallel with the ongoing user research, Insight’s and Fenwal’s engineering team tackled the development of the mechanical systems of the device. A pumping technology developed for a previous Fenwal product was incorporated, but literally with a twist: the separation of blood required a centrifuge to spin the collected blood while still in the disposable, and while still attached to the patient.
The demand for red cell collection is always high, and the ALYX system is processing a growing percentage of the donations. The ALYX system allowed Fenwal to expand its market space into mobile environments and small blood centers worldwide.