Women undergoing IVF treatment commonly need to take progesterone supplements which come as tablets, suppositories, or the dreaded self-administered progesterone in oil (PiO) injections. The viscous intramuscular PiO needs to be warmed before driving the 22-gauge (1.5-inch) needle into the buttocks, something few women find pleasurable.
To address needlephobia and help patients be more consistent with PiO, Cambridge Consultants developed the piOna, an all-in-one device that warms the hormone replacement and provides guidance in preparation for injection. Once ready, the lip of the device is applied to the skin and a gentle push of a button does the rest without the user ever seeing the needle. Visual, voice, and tactile cues lead the user through each step. This is in contrast to having you or your significant other placing a huge needle and then slowly but firmly pressing the plunger while delivering the thick PiO into muscle.
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As well as being faster and easier to use, the new piOna device could help reduce the amount of swelling and additional side effects around the injected area that patients have to endure. By automating the temperature and injection speed of the PiO, it will help the solution dissipate when it enters the body.
Lai Chiu Tang, senior industrial designer at Cambridge Consultants, said: “Fertility treatment is a very stressful and difficult process for a woman to go through and – after discussions with fertility nurses – we felt it was important to tackle the usability issues of self-administered PiO injections. Providing women with the confidence to administer a drug dosage without fear of unnecessary pain and stress will open doors to this technology platform being used in all manner of drug delivery. Improving the user experience will help women all over the world to gain access to health opportunities which were previously perceived to be unobtainable.”