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Medical Success Stories

HLB has spent nearly three decades developing more than 250 medical devices used in clinical applications around the globe. From ergonomic surgical instrumentation to innovative diagnostic systems, we've helped improve and reinvent many areas of medicine. Our approach combines the thoughtful application of technology with user-centered design, resulting in meaningful solutions that consistently improve patient outcomes and deliver profits. Our depth of experience and breadth of expertise combine to make HLB the most capable independent resource for your medical device, field research, design and development needs. Let us bring your products to market for results that exceed your highest expectations.


Smith & Nephew


Medical Case Study: Johnson & Johnson

Medical Success Story: Ethicon

More than half a million people each year are put on life-sustaining heart-lung ventilators during open heart surgery. A few years ago, a new procedure was gaining favor among surgeons to keep the heart beating during surgery to reduce post-op complications, patient recovery time and overall costs. But instrumentation to handle a beating heart was limited.

So, Johnson & Johnson Ethicon CardioVations turned to HLB to help them define and develop technology for a best-in-class heart stabilization device during off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. Our designers and engineers worked closely to accommodate challenging space restrictions inherent to this delicate and critical operation.

The result of our work was a technologically-advanced, industry-first device. The EMBRACE Beating Heart Stabilization System features full 360° rotation/tilt for optimal visualization and access to the arteries on the lateral wall of the heart. We developed a stabilizer that enables one-hand operation to secure the device and limit movement of the heart within one millimeter. Constant feedback is provided to the surgeon during the revascularization process through visual and tactical CUES.

Ethicon received recognition throughout the medical community for its contribution to the evolution of this life-saving procedure. The EMBRACE system has been credited as a significant contribution to medicine and is now a key product in Ethicon's portfolio. The product has been honored by BusinessWeek as an IDEA Gold award winner for design excellence and impact.

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Medical Case Study: Smith & Nephew

Medical Success Story: Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew, a leading medical instrument company, wanted to create the pre-eminent tool-kit for artificial knee surgery; one that would command a premium in the market. So they turned to HLB.

We began by immersing ourselves in the surgical and rehabilitative environments to find out what was most important to medical staff. We then created a toolset that was easier for orderlies to recognize; for nurses to assemble in pre-op; and for surgeons to handle. This was about both form and function. The tools needed to look distinctive to stand out in an often chaotic operating environment; and they needed to work better than anything else on the market.

The result was an inspired new product line with a best-in-class usability and aesthetics. Our design hit a number of key metrics including reduced weight, greater accuracy with less effort, packaging to streamline pre-op routines, and a simplified post-op sterilization process.

These tools are unlike anything else on the market and have changed the way knee replacements are implanted. The product line has driven significant revenue growth for our client.

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Medical Case Study: Everest

Medical Success Story: Everest

For a long time, brain-data assessments devices fell into one of two categories. They were either too big and expensive or too small and rudimentary.

Everest (now Brainscope) sought to change this. They envisioned a handheld brain-state assessment device that was compact, yet powerful. So, they asked HLB to conceive a game-changing experience.

Our driving consideration behind the design innovation for SNAP II was simplicity with function. We designed a user interface to provide maximize readability with a color touch screen and minimized controls to make navigation easy. A special set of electrodes was created that clearly illustrates the steps to placement.

Snap II's form factor was driven by the size of a physician's coat pocket and the ergonomics to provide easy handling. SNAP II can ride unobtrusively on the gurney after a procedure and continue to monitor state of consciousness. The device's convenience and versatility allows clinicians to simplify activities, increase productivity, and provide improved patient care.

SNAP II immediately became the industry's premier monitoring instrument to assess level of consciousness. This is the power of combining the vision of a good idea with the experience to get it done.

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