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Creating a system for clearing airways is Clémentine Pirio’s mission with Hillrom’s Monarch®

Creating a system for clearing airways is Clémentine Pirio’s mission with Hillrom’s Monarch®
Monarch Airway Clearance System

Ensuring the best quality of life for patients can also be a designer’s day-to-day life

This is the case for Clémentine Pirio who graduated in 2005 and is now working as an industrial designer for Hillrom, an international group specialized in the design and manufacture of medical devices.

Since 2012, after an experience at Alten in service design, Clémentine’s interest has turned to medical technology. From medical and surgical equipment to furniture and respirators, Clémentine can turn her hand to anything but always puts the user, or patient, first.

“You have to be able to combine uses, technique and industrial strategy”

How to improve the effectiveness of care and patient autonomy every day. This was the challenge taken up by Clémentine Pirio with the design of the Monarch® system: a jacket intended for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis which helps clear the respiratory tracts by vibrating the chest wall. “This jacket is a real revolution in terms of autonomy,” explains Clémentine, an industrial designer for the company Hillrom.“Thanks to its battery, this system replaces sessions of chest physiotherapy and lets the patient go away on holiday with complete freedom without having to be wired up to a machine.

Clémentine, who works as a designer for this company that employs around 10,000 people around the world, coordinated all the project phases with the American agencies and Hillrom’s development teams in Singapore. “In my profession, you have to be able to combine use, technique and the company’s industrial strategy and this project fully embodies that complexity.”

How works Moarch ?

Cystic Fibrosis

As well as satisfying the security and regulatory requirements of medical devices, the one-size jacket has to adapt to the morphology of each different patient, and combines various types of material such as foam, fabric, plastic and electronics.” The jacket is permanently connected to medical professionals via Wifi so that the chest physiotherapists can monitor the patient’s therapy remotely. “It’s vital to have a perfect command of the technical aspects,” explains Clémentine, “especially when you find yourself in front of an army of engineers”. A real opportunity for patients that gives them back a bit of freedom and lets them escape their daily use of machines for a while.

“The most important thing is always to be factual (…) so that there is a real clinical benefit for patients”.

The most important thing is always to be factual and, as we were taught at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, you have to remain critical, know how to take a step back and above all approach projects in a holistic way.” Taking into account uses and user experience is vital for Clémentine who likes to think through the project’s ecosystem as a whole before rushing to find solutions.
But the main value of the project for Clémentine, who originally wanted to work in the field of medical illustration, “is that there is a real clinical benefit for patients and it’s really motivating to feel like you’re changing people’s lives for the better”.