Chronic illnesses are on the rise, which means there are more and more patients who need to self-inject treatments at home. The problem is that patients who lack confidence in using their drug-delivery device or are inadequately familiar with the device tend to use it incorrectly and may not be receiving the full dose every time. This is where Orlando, FL-based Noble International comes in.
"About 10 years ago we began to recognize a need for patient device training," Joe Reynolds, research manager at Noble, told MD+DI. "So patients learning how to use autoinjectors, pre-filled syringes, and inhalers. Ever since then we've really been solely focused on growing the training device market and accelerating the impact that we can have on patient lives and outcomes."
Today Noble's product portfolio spans training versions of multiple types of injection devices, including autoinjectors, injection pens, pre-filled syringes, safety systems, and respiratory devices. The company is also beginning to expand its portfolio into nasal delivery and new therapeutic areas. The one thing all of these training devices have in common is that they are intended to train patients on devices that they are responsible for using at home.
Designing training replicas of existing drug-delivery devices is easier said than done though.
"We start by identifying patient needs and prioritizing those into design requirements," Reynolds said.
One of the biggest challenges Noble faces in developing trainers is that the training products are designed to be resettable and used multiple times so patients can practice as many times as they want to build their confidence. But the devices that Noble is replicating are single-use devices.
"So we have to design and engineer a resettable version of a single-use device while keeping it a one-to-one size ratio so that they look the same, they feel the same, they behave the same, with the only difference being the reset step," Reynolds said. "So that's a big engineering challenge, but luckily we have a pretty ambitious and highly-skilled team here that is able to do that for us."
Noble develops entire patient education experiences around its products, including instructional brochures, videos, etc. Reynolds said some of the company's more advanced training solutions incorporate sensors and other onboard technologies that can notify patients if they make a mistake and teach them how to correct that behavior.
"We like to create multi-module learning experiences depending on where the trainer is using it and how it's being used," he said.
Reynolds said Nobles products have been proven to reduce patient errors and keep patients highly engaged during their first 30 to 90 days of treatment.