ETHICON

Breaking barriers to tension-free hernia repair

Skills Used
Research & Strategy, Prototyping, Industrial Design

About 96% of all groin hernias are inguinal. It is estimated that 20 million inguinal hernia repairs are performed globally every year– one of the most frequently performed general surgeries.

Worrell China partnered with Ethicon Inc. to identify barriers to adoption of existing tension-free hernia repair techniques by way of immersive research, videography and clinical procedure observations in order to develop new product offerings that specifically address China and similar markets. These product offerings were developed to help surgical teams meet the goals of the Lichtenstein, plug and patch, and preperitoneal techniques.

Qualitative field data and insights were synthesized using Worrell’s proprietary Censys tool, which enabled the project team to identify and focus on areas of opportunity with the greatest possibility to provide “customer delights.”

They then organized and led a series of highly productive and focused cross-functional ideation sessions in order to develop potential product solutions that addressed these specific unmet market needs. The most promising concepts were prototyped and tested by the Worrell China team through a series of qualitative, in-depth surgeon interviews.

Our Approach

Qualitative field data and insights were synthesized using Worrell’s proprietary Censys tool, which enabled the project team to identify and focus on areas of opportunity with the greatest possibility to provide “customer delights.”

They then organized and led a series of highly productive and focused cross-functional ideation sessions in order to develop potential product solutions that addressed these specific unmet market needs. The most promising concepts were prototyped and tested by the Worrell China team through a series of qualitative, in-depth surgeon interviews.

Key Activities

Recruiting

Design Research & Strategy

Concept Testing

Industrial Design

Rapid Prototyping

Results

Worrell China’s tailored process, initially intended to address a portfolio gap in China, created numerous technologically feasible and patentable ideas, while laying the foundation for Ethicon Inc.’s new multi-year product pipeline with emerging market and global implications. The key findings and recommendations that emerged from the ethnographic research are reiterated almost verbatim in Ethicon’s current product marketing literature.

Update

The ULTRAPRO COMFORT PLUG™, the first and only macroporous, partially absorbable mesh plug that is now used for open inguinal hernia repair, emerged from the results of the strategic partnership between Worrell China and Ethicon. Worrell worked in close collaboration with Ethicon Research & Development in Germany and China, as well as Global Strategic Marketing, to bring the product to market.

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