Many medical devices are meant to be used while in mobile situations. These devices could be wearable, carried in a user’s pocket or by hand, pushed like a cart, etc. Users of mobile medical devices expect them to be safe, reliable, durable, and easy to use while in motion or when transported, so let’s look at some design considerations specific to this subset of devices.


  • Are there spacial limitations in the area(s) the device will be used/moved?
  • Is the device meant to be used while in motion or will it be stationary during use after being transported?
  • Does the position the device will be in during use (whether moving or stationary) make user interaction difficult?
  • Are a variety of environmental conditions expected?
  • Will display visibility in the intended environments differ?
  • If applicable, have current building and fire codes been accounted for in the design? Sometimes previous versions of these codes should be considered when use in older construction is expected.


  • Will the user of the device change based on the location?
  • Is the device easily transportable by the intended user population? Consider size, shape, weight, and weight distribution.
  • Have relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines been considered?

General Design/Use:

  • Is the device durable enough to withstand being dropped, tipped over, etc?
  • Has the device been designed to prevent being dropped, tipped over, etc., as much as reasonably possible?
  • If the device is meant to be used in an emergency situation, is it designed for quick, intuitive responses?
  • Are controls and indicators clear and easy to find and use?
  • If a device has brakes, do they fail safe?

These are just some of the factors to think about when designing a mobile medical device. If you’ve had experience in this area, have you found that exploring these ideas up front makes a difference in the design process? Have you encountered any related issues you’d like to share?


Ref: ANSI/AAMI HE75:2009

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