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2013 MDEA Judging Process and Criteria

The Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) is the MedTech Industry’s premier design awards competition celebrating the highest caliber of medical devices on the market today. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the mission of the MDEA has been to recognize significant advances in medical product design and engineering that improve the quality of healthcare delivery and accessibility. The MDEA program is designed to focus attention upon the complexity of product development and to showcase examples of what can be achieved when it is well done. The awards honor the design achievements and healthcare contributions of medical product manufacturers, their suppliers, and the many people behind the scenes—engineers, scientists, designers, and clinicians—who are responsible for the groundbreaking innovations that are changing the face of MedTech today.

In order to represent all facets of healthcare, awards are offered in each of the following 10 product categories, and may be offered in additional subcategories as determined by the jurors:

  • Critical-care and emergency medicine products
  • Dental instruments, equipment, and supplies
  • Finished medical packaging
  • General hospital devices and therapeutic products
  • Implant and tissue-replacement products
  • In vitro diagnostics (biochemicals for diagnostic use, related instrumentation, and home-use devices)
  • Over-the-counter and self-care products
  • Radiological and electromechanical devices (diagnostic imaging devices, energy-emitting therapy devices)
  • Rehabilitation and assistive-technology products (healthcare furnishings, patient-transfer equipment, and home-use medical equipment and supplies)
  • Surgical equipment, instruments, and supplies

Judging of each year’s competition is conducted by an impartial, independent, multidisciplinary panel of jurors—comprised of a balance of clinicians, engineers, and designers—who carefully review all of the submissions and narrow them down to a select group of exceptional products in each of the 10 categories. The jury panel typically encompasses experts from a wide range of healthcare- and design-related fields, including clinical practice, biomedical engineering, human factors, industrial design, manufacturing, medicine, and other areas. Members of the MDEA jury are selected each year by a panel of editors from UBM Canon MedTech Group’s Content Team and from MD+DI magazine.

When reviewing the products, the jurors consider all of the following criteria:

  • Innovative use of materials, components, or processes in the fabrication of the product.
  • The ability of the product development team to overcome design and engineering challenges so that the product meets its clinical objectives.
  • User-related design and engineering features that improve healthcare delivery, with special attention to functional innovations that broaden the scope of users, change traditional medical attitudes or practices, or offer significant use-related improvements.
  • Design and engineering features that provide enhanced benefits to the patient (e.g., comfort, fit, service access, safety, appropriate aesthetics, overall improvement of healthcare).
  • Aspects of product design and engineering that improve the manufacturer’s profitability.
  • Product features that improve the overall delivery of MedTech.

Over the three-day judging period, teams of jurors evaluate all of the year’s entries and narrow them down to a select group of exceptional products in each of the 10 categories. The multiphase judging process culminates with the entire jury convening to hear each team of jurors present its finalist selections. The jurors may select at their discretion as few as none to as many as 6 finalists in each category that they deem worthy of a possible award. The full jury conducts an in depth open discussion of all finalists in each category, and then votes to determine the products that will be designated MDEA award winners.

The MDEA jury may assign up to one Bronze, one Silver, and one Gold-level award in each category. The jury will also award “Best-in-Show” to one of the Gold-winning products. Although it is generally expected that there will be only one Bronze, one Silver and one Gold winner in each category, this decision is left to the discretion of the judges. The jury may elect to present as many or as few awards as it deems merited by the quality and number of entries, irrespective of category. Awards may also be offered in additional subcategories as determined by the jurors.

The decision of the jury shall be final.

UBM Canon and members of the MDEA jury panel reserve the right to investigate and confirm any information presented in an MDEA entry. UBM Canon reserves the right to withhold or withdraw awards given for any product whose entry is found to be inaccurate. UBM Canon reserves the right to clarify or amend the rules and procedures pertaining to the MDEA competition at any time. For complete competition rules, please refer to the Official Rules section of this website.

Finalists of each year’s MDEA competition are formally notified during March. However, public announcement of the finalist products is embargoed until the April issue of the competition’s sponsoring publication, MD+DI (Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry) magazine. Companies are not told whether their entries are winners until the official announcement in June at the MDEA Winners Ceremony held in conjunction with the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East event ( at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

For complete details about the MDEA Judging Process and Criteria, as well as about Juror Selection and Nominations, including a downloadable Juror Nomination Form, please continue to review the Judging and Jurors section of this website. If you don't find the information you are looking for, please contact a member of the MDEA team via e-mail at

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