Norwegian Design: A valuable tool for professional lifesavers

Laerdal Medical received the Award for Design Excellence 2009, category Industrial design, and the Red Dot Design Award 2009 for their CPRmeter

CPRmeter is a product which guides emergency response staff so that they continually provide good compressions, regardless of patients’ individual differences. The product must be placed between the emergency person’s hand and the patient’s chest.

When medical research showed that chest compression performed in life-threatening situations was generally of very variable quality, Laerdal Medical began work on developing the CPRmeter. With 50 years of experience in designing medical products for treatment and training purposes and 1200 employees around the world, the company recorded an annual turnover of NOK 2,100,000,000 in 2007.

“CPRmeter was developed for the professional lifesaver,” says Harald Sævareid, industrial designer at Laerdal Medical, “that is, ambulance drivers and other health care professionals, as well as corporate employees responsible for in-house lifesaving initiatives. CPRmeter is a professional tool that guides the lifesaver, enabling him or her to provide good, stable continuous chest compression,” he explains.

Inside CPRmeter complex calculations are made in real time, based on the speed and power of the compressions. Photos: Laerdal Medical

Several stages

CPRmeter is the continuation of a first-generation equipment project– a project that has given the company valuable experience. The commissioning party and owner of the new project is the marketing division of Laerdal Medical. Product Manager Jo-Fredrik Ranhoff says that research shows a clear correlation between the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation provided and the likelihood of surviving heart failure. He explains that they had set themselves the following objectives at the start of the CPRmeter project.

”CPRmeter was developed in close cooperation with employees at Philips global design divisions and our own team,” says Mr Ranhoff. ”We have invested a lot of time and resources in comprehensive user testing and the testing of various concepts, both as regards the user interface and the product’s design. We also conducted user surveys among health personnel during the early clinical research stage while we were still working on prototypes. These surveys were carried out simultaneously by us and by Philips in several different countries and on several continents,” he explains.

Positive adjustments

“User tests and the experience gleaned from the first-generation products have been of crucial importance to the design of the final product,” Mr Sævareid says.

“It is easy to turn a blind eye to weaknesses in something one believes to be a good idea. User feedback and our monitoring of how they have actually used the equipment in a stressful situation provided us with unique practical insight and has resulted in positive adjustments throughout the process,” he concludes.

“Including designers from a very early stage of the process has been very valuable,” says Mr Ranhoff. “A specific design brief informed them of what we wanted from the product, and they were able to compare this information with the results of the user surveys. In this way we were able to find out and rule out a lot of things at an early stage.”

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