The evolution of medical devices has exploded over the last century. There is a wide diversity of products that have been developed to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases. Some of these are implanted into a patient’s body, such as the tracheal stent. This is used to reconstruct the trachea and prevent its collapse due to tracheal stenosis or other medical conditions. More commonly known as the windpipe, the trachea is a membranous D-shaped tube reinforced by rings of cartilage that conveys air to and from the lungs. The stent itself is a hollow tube that comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. Although physicians attempt to use standardized tracheal stents, there is a high demand for customized products to improve implantation effectiveness. However, customization is more expensive and it is difficult to maintain inventory compared to standardized stents.
A study by Evila et al., researchers at the University of Girona in Spain, recognized the need for an improved customized tracheal stent, and chose to use Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to better address customer needs.
The main teaching objective of this case study is to provide students the opportunity to practice creating a Quality Function Deployment chart using the real-world context of tracheal stents.