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Pressure relief in the heel area - Body Armor Heel Reliever - for supine patients
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Product development at DARCO

Regina Felix, Product Developer and QMB at DARCO (Europe) - Relief Dual Plus Off-loading Shoe

Alexandra Panizza, DARCO Editor, talks to Regina Felix, Product Developer and QMB at DARCO (Europe), about development work and the added value of the new Relief Dual® Plus Off-loading Shoe.

If you are searching for our Product Developers, they are either carrying out a live test of a new product, talking to users or are engrossed in their "inventor's world" between foam, sole profiles and 3D printing. We talked with Regina Felix, our Product Developer at DARCO (Europe).

When is a DARCO product ready for market launch?

When the intended added value and benefits have been achieved, and the product has passed the test phase. Material composition, biomechanical processes, indications and usability all have a significant influence. The bar is set very high! We also ask ourselves what product the market needs to provide the best possible care for patients.

DARCO recently launched the Relief Dual® Plus. How did the development team approach the "plus" in performance?

We focused on a combination of the tried and tested and the innovative in the development of the Relief Dual® Plus off-loading shoe. We start with the prototype so that we quickly have something tangible to offer and can get doctors and users on board. We rely on close cooperation. This means the development work is not carried out in isolation.

For the development alternative Relief Dual® Plus, the task was to deliver expanded care options, especially in the rearfoot area, and, at the same time, to once again strengthen the evidence we have already introduced to the market with the well-established Relief Dual® technology of the outsole, thus reinforcing the message "Say goodbye to the forefoot plateau!". In addition, we would like to further establish the combination options with other DARCO products, such as the insole systems, so that personalised patient care is possible.

How long did it take to develop the Relief Dual® Plus and get it ready for sale?

The initial impetus was in November 2019 and the launch was in October 2020. Such a rapid development phase is only feasible if all departments work together.

To what extent does the everyday life of patients play a role in product development?

We regularly receive valuable patient feedback through the close contact with specialist retailers and doctors. What could we do better? "What are the pain points?"

With the new Relief Dual® Plus, a flexibly adjustable heel cap allows the shoe to be adapted to the patient's respective heel anatomy. Not only does this provide more space and pressure relief for voluminous heel dressings, but narrow heels can also be gripped better. As a result, we provide patients with greater support, stability and comfort.

In everyday life, there are many heel injuries that are difficult to treat. Here we wanted to introduce a "plus" in care - i.e. a real advantage - to the market. Patients with such injuries should be able to move far more safely in everyday life, without pressure on their painful heels. In addition, the full opening in all directions makes it easier to put the shoe on and take it off, and the high shaft ensures a secure and stable fit. We are very keen to know how patients get on with our products in everyday life. We draw on this very much for our product development and the design process. Patients' acceptance is tremendously important.

Where does the product development team get its ideas from?

What is the saying? "Product development means not simply accepting problems and shortcomings, but wanting to do something better." New product ideas usually come about through conversations with users, doctors and patients. DARCO is well networked and is in close contact with its customers. Through continuous exchange with DARCO colleagues in the USA, UK, India and China, our innovations are passed on to as many patients as possible worldwide.

Are there already specific plans for 2021?

Of course, there are already some development projects to expand DARCO's product range and to adapt existing products. You can look forward to this! And what I should also like to see: Feel free to send questions and suggestions to the DARCO development team and, of course, good health for all!

Thank you for the conversation.

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