Innovation at Medela
For Medela, innovation is essential to ensure future business success. Innovation is the result of intense basic research and the evaluation of customers' needs. Today, development projects in medical technology must follow a standardized, user-centered design process.
Gathering facts through academic research
Medela is a research-based company and has funded basic research on breastfeeding and breast milk as well as on innovative medical vacuum technology for almost 20 years. Regarding breastmilk and breastfeeding research, Medela has a long-standing relationship with the University of Western Australia (UWA) and also collaborates with other universities, hospitals and research institutions from around the world. For the development of products in the field of medical vacuum technologies, Medela has established a strong partnership with key opinion leaders and medical experts in hospitals worldwide.
Involving customers in the innovation process
Medela involves its users in the innovation process. By asking them about their needs and experiences in using Medela breast pumps and vacuum technology, new customer benefits can be realized. Medela’s product development is guided by the customers’ needs.
Three examples from Medela's portfolio of innovations:
Symphony: hospital breast pump
Symphony’s groundbreaking technology originated from basic research at the University of Western Australia (UWA). The Symphony pump imitates the baby's two natural sucking patterns. During breastfeeding, the baby's sucking starts out fast yet gentle to stimulate the milk-ejection reflex. It then switches to a slower and deeper rhythm. Symphony set a new standard as the first breast pump with this 2-Phase Expression Technology to reach the market.
Calma: feeding device
Medela developed Calma, a custom feeding device for delivering breast milk. The applied research that led to this innovation was based on studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA) of infants' suckling, swallowing and breathing patterns during breastfeeding. Calma allows babies to suck, swallow and breathe in their natural rhythm, and the baby must create a vacuum to get the milk flowing. Calma allows easy switching between the breast, the Calma device and then back to breast, as it mimics natural nursing patterns.
Calma was awarded the innovation prize at the 2012 Kind+Jugend Fair in Cologne.
Thopaz digital thoracic drainage system
Thopaz sets new standards in therapy and thoracic drainage management. All necessary functionalities are fitted into a single compact unit small enough to be carried by the patient. This innovation was made possible thanks to the company's close partnership with doctors and medical staff.