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The healthcare industry is one of the fastest evolving, due to the increasing adoption of digital technologies. This has led to rapid modernization in the way healthcare services are delivered and consumed and resulted in a surge in the use of modern medical devices and applications. As the healthcare ecosystem gets accustomed to the new ways of working, enhanced User Experience (UX) is playing and will play a critical role. UX is critical to a person’s experience and relationship with that product or service.
The demand for digital healthcare tools accelerated during the pandemic and is continuing to do so. Innovations are happening at a rapid pace that are improving care aspects across the industry. There is a wide variety of tools, products, and gadgets available in the market for patient care. However, the design of these is very important for user acceptance, adoption, and retention. Such tools are imperative to enable friendly touch points throughout the provider-patient interaction journey. The quality of these interactions can positively impact the healthcare journey of a patient in a time-sensitive manner.
Good healthcare UX can be a game changer and can ensure a smooth transition, since the audience for these new-age devices and applications range from tech-savvy professionals to elderly patients who couldn’t care less for technology!
These are some important design aspects for healthcare products:
- Safety, accessibility, and usability
- Friendly and responsive, catering to all age groups, especially the elderly
- Enables personalized care and prevents delays in diagnosis
- Suitability for varied personas, states of mind incl. anxious patients or requiring emergency care
- Simple and unambiguous – esp. for emergency response since time is of the essence
- Seamless healthcare mobility – access to services from anywhere
- Quick access to required data at any time, due to round the clock nature of healthcare services
- Good balance of technology innovation with compatibility/adaptability for diverse users
An engaging yet approachable UX design is paramount. Let us take a look at which emerging areas can benefit from good UX design.
Virtual Reality (VR)
According to research by GlobeNewswire, the VR for healthcare market is expected to reach USD 7 billion by 2026. VR plays an important role in training healthcare surgeons who can master new skills using VR without risking the life of patients. VR platforms will potentially transform the way doctors learn the discipline. From a design perspective, making the application as interactive and knowledgeable as possible is imperative. For VR to have a long-term place in healthcare, it is important to keep it as human-centric as possible. This will help drive innovation and shape the future of these offerings.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Built on robust digital healthcare infrastructure, Electronic Health Records (EHR) are transforming the healthcare system. EHRs significantly improve patient care, cost-effectiveness, patient participation, and overall service efficiency by replacing paper records. To remain relevant, the user experience of these websites must remain easily accessible and user friendly. Users should be presented with an easy-to-use design allowing them to navigate to any section and access information while keeping up with the privacy measures needed to protect user data.
The healthcare industry has an ocean of data that was not leveraged in the past. New solutions including advanced healthcare analytics and medical informatics, have come into existence with the advent of technology. The role of UX in data visualization is critical to the success of the offering itself. Visualization helps medical researchers gain valuable insights and interpret the data to further their services.
Data visualization from a user perspective allows them to understand their health better. For instance, appspresenting sleep cycles in a chart allow the wearer to understand the impact of their habits better. Flashy dashboards with bright colors and plenty of UI elements are eye catching at first but are not suitable for regular use.
Wearable devices such as smartwatches or fitness trackers have gained momentum in the last few years. For healthcare professionals, these devices help them understand the patient better, keep track of their health remotely, and modify prescriptions based on trends and patterns. These self-monitoring gadgets, which are now a daily integral component of users, need to deliver comfortable user experiences to ensure usability, connectivity, and data collection.
Healthcare applications that include interactive chatbots have become a staple in the healthcare industry. There is an increasing demand for AI-powered chatbots, which help improve the healthcare support system. Chatbots help patients book appointments, send medication reminders, collect and analyze patient-generated data, assist patients with chronic illnesses, and more. From a UX perspective, the requirement is to ensure that the user can use the bot effortlessly imitating human interaction, without them seeming like complex gadgets.
AI in Healthcare
Artificial Intelligence is gaining popularity in the healthcare industry for its varied usability. According to Tractica, by 2025, AI will help manage various healthcare verticals such as medical image analyses, computational drug discovery and drug effectiveness, medical treatment recommendations, hospital patient management systems, patient data processing, and more. Combined with the forces of robotics, AI helps hospitals detect fatal diseases early, perform a range of laboratory tasks, improve precision during diagnosis and surgery, and automate repetitive tasks.
Remote Patient Monitoring
With the growing need for telehealth services, remote patient monitoring is starting to find a place in the modern healthcare system. There are several benefits to RPM, such as better preventative management for chronic conditions, reduced hospitalizations, and consistent patient care. With remote monitoring, access to healthcare has also significantly expanded, bringing changes to health status. Simple to use yet good functional design of products – for both providers and patients – is what will keep this feasible.
Voice interface has been a growing user experience trend across industries. In the post-pandemic world, the healthcare sector benefits from using a voice user interface for contactless operations while it remains integrated with the graphic user interface. Using voice-controlled functions also helps people with disabilities gain complete control over their application functions without assistance. It also helps healthcare organizations improve their service offerings as they improve care, customer experience, and offer newer insights into patient care.
Future of UX in Healthcare
Designing medical products is a serious responsibility in this ever-changing whirlwind of medical technology. User experience and healthcare go hand in hand with health tech. Therefore, medical technology must never sacrifice usability to incorporate functions. Before businesses aim for success and safety, user comfort should always remain a priority. UX and Development team collaboration under the same roof for design led product development approaches, surely elevates the impact of digital medical care.
UNBOX is a UX practice at GS Lab | GAVS, where we design world-class yet practical digital experiences for our customers. In numerous engagements, we have been involved in various stages of the product development lifecycle, including PoCs and MVPs. Our experience in UX allows us to navigate vast domains and different customer segments easily. Unboxing user experience aspects at an early stage of the product surely does reap benefits later. We, at UNBOX, have been involved in delivering such experiences and have partnered with our customers’ product journeys in the following areas:
- Remote patient connects
- Lab test analyses
- Nutrition management
- Mental health assessment
- Financial planning for healthcare
You can find more information on our services here.