Healthcare UX is a crucial element of the patient experience in the healthcare industry, but very often is not considered a part of patient care. It’s an understandable lapse in coverage, as doctors and nurses are more focused on diagnosing issues with their patients health rather than their login portal, but as we all know, stress factors can cause health to decline, and poorly considered Healthcare UX design may be contributing to increased heart rates before a patient even steps foot into a practice.
There are many options healthcare providers can consider to bolster the overall patient experience, and the future of healthcare may be defined by how designers build a more digital healthcare experience.
Healthcare user experience (healthcare UX) is user-centric design for systems, applications, products, or services in the healthcare field in order to create a seamless and intuitive experience for all stakeholders, including both professionals and patients, through user research, usability testing, and iterative design.
Effective healthcare UX design focuses on these key components: accessibility, usability, visual design, content strategy, privacy, and security.
Good healthcare UX is crucial for both patients and healthcare professionals. Patients appreciate clear and efficient interfaces where they can easily access information, complete tasks, communicate with their healthcare providers, and provide feedback.
Healthcare systems that prioritize a good UX experience consistently have more satisfied patients who then take a more proactive role in managing their own health and wellbeing. This further fosters trust between healthcare providers and users.
This efficiency and trust positively impacts the overall healthcare industry by streamlining processes and providing new tools that improve overall patient outcomes and healthcare delivery.
In UX design for healthcare, effective communication makes positive experiences, as patients need to receive important information in order to make informed decisions about their health. Here are some elements that healthcare professionals should keep in mind when communicating with patients:
Because medical information can include complex language, jargon, and acronyms, healthcare UX designers should use lay terms, clear and simple language to ensure patients will understand what is being conveyed.
Design interfaces with users in mind: When designing interfaces and tools, healthcare providers must understand the needs of their patients. Keep information easy to access and use visual aids like illustrations and graphs, especially when communicating complex medical information.
Patients appreciate when healthcare providers use their names and incorporate their preferences. In order to ensure that patients receive important information, healthcare providers should use multiple forms of communication like emails, texts, and phone calls.
Healthcare UX designers should emphasize personalization, including patient satisfaction and overall healthcare experience. This can be achieved through adapting the following:
Create easy-to-use interfaces that patients can tailor to their own needs and preferences. This could be accomplished through customizable widgets for things like a calendar, medication reminders, and health trackers.
Because every patient has a unique medical history, set of goals, and lifestyle, each plan should be tailored to their unique needs. This can include social programs like through life coaching, nutrition planning resources, and support groups.
UX design for healthcare is centered on the individualization of messages. The key to success is learning about your patients preferred modes of communication and individual needs, then make recommendations based on their personal health and goals, and provide personalized feedback with progress reports and health risk assessments.
Electronic health records are full of extremely private information about a practice’s patients. In order to maintain patient privacy, comply with healthcare regulations, and foster trust between patients and providers, protecting patient information must be a priority for any successful healthcare UX design. Healthcare providers should prioritize the following:
In order to protect patient privacy, healthcare UX designers should implement multi-factor authentication, heightened password requirements, encryption protocols, and other secure login procedures.
Patient information should be limited to authorized personnel only, in compliance with healthcare regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Providers can implement role-based access control, making patient information accessible to providers only when it is necessary.
Patient information should be regularly backed up to prevent data loss, and this data should be encrypted using protocols for all forms of communication (including messages sent via email or apps) to prevent unauthorized access.
Patients should be kept up to date on best practices for protecting their information, which can include training for how to recognize scams and resources for reporting any suspicious activity.
Making healthcare UX design more accessible is critical to ensuring that patients receive the care they need. Here are some ways healthcare providers can make their healthcare UX more generally accessible to those who need it:
Mobile Accessibility: We now spend significantly more time engaging with our mobile devices than ever before. Healthcare UX designers should prioritize mobile accessibility to ensure that patients have easy access to their personal information and available services from their mobile devices. Mobile accessibility may include mobile apps or mobile-friendly content.
Assistive Technology: assistive technology such as screen readers, text-to-speech software, and voice recognition software help healthcare providers ensure inclusive design for people with a variety of physical disabilities.
Language Accessibility: Diagnosis and treatment can be complicated, which is why healthcare UX designers should provide information in the native language of their patients. Providers can do so by including translated interfaces into their applications.
Accessibility Standards: UX design for healthcare should follow accessibility standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure that their interfaces and tools are accessible to users with disabilities.
Telehealth: It can be difficult for some individuals to transport themselves to patient care locations. Healthcare providers can use telehealth to provide remote healthcare services to patients who have difficulties traveling. This can include virtual appointments, remote monitoring, and telemedicine.
Social Media: Healthcare providers can use social media platforms to provide information and answer common patient questions. Social media healthcare accounts can be used to share helpful tips, and provide healthcare service updates, and celebrate the accolades of a practice’s doctors and nurses.
While intentional healthcare UX design can greatly benefit the healthcare industry, it also poses some unique challenges. Some common challenges faced in healthcare UX include:
Healthcare UX must prioritize patient privacy and security over everything else. Working with developers to implement secure login procedures, data encryption, and limited access to sensitive patient information is crucial to protecting a practice’s clients.
The complexity of the healthcare industry makes creating a simple user experience more challenging. Healthcare UX designers must consider the needs of healthcare providers, patients, insurance companies, and government regulators, among others within their designs. If any portion of the process is left unconsidered, information may not be properly communicated to the appropriate party, which causes slowdowns or confusion.
Healthcare UX designers must comply with healthcare regulations such as HIPAA, which can make designing user-friendly interfaces and tools more challenging.
Sensitive and emotional topics often arise around conversations of healthcare. Healthcare UX designers must consider the emotional impact and support for patients and caregivers.
Developing new solutions can be expensive, and healthcare providers often have limited resources available for thorough UX design, which can make it challenging to develop user-friendly interfaces and tools across an entire platform.
UX design for healthcare products requires careful consideration and knowledge of the industry. Here are some tips to keep in mind while designing a healthcare product:
User-Centered Design: Healthcare products should be designed with the end-user in mind. Understanding the needs, preferences, and interests of end users for healthcare providers allows for intelligent and iterative design decisions.
Compliance with Regulations: Healthcare products must comply with healthcare regulations implemented by state and federal government. It is imperative to ensure that all product design choices are in alignment with regulations set in place to protect the information of all parties involved.
Clear and Simple Language: Medical jargon can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Healthcare products must use clear and simple language to ensure that users have the ability to interpret their diagnoses and comprehend the next steps for their treatment.
Visual Aids: People learn a great deal through visuals, so tools such as infographics, diagrams, and illustrations can be extremely beneficial for communicating complex medical information. Paired with simple language, these aids can turn challenging to understand information into something straightforward that the user can ingest and comprehend.
Personalization: Healthcare product personalization helps to retain and engage users with topics that normally feel foreign and anxiety-inducing. Strategies like gamification and incentivization are great ways to bring users back to a product frequently and to engage deeply in their own personal health.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a new wave of telehealth services to the forefront of the healthcare industry, as hospital services were limited with the rise of cases across the country. This shift in the paradigm is likely to bring about investments in remote technologies that can streamline the daily operations of a medical practice. Utilizing tools like virtual and augmented reality has the ability to transform healthcare through by opening new doors into simulated medical procedures, patient education, and enhanced telehealth experiences.
This technology paired with the aggressively evolving world of artificial intelligence could even have us witness a future where routine or simple procedures are conducted by computer programs.
The success of this technology will be dependent on the user experience. Trusting your health with a piece of software is likely to be something that individuals are initially uncomfortable with, so ensuring an amazing user experience with every procedure is critical in developing a healthcare industry that can provide more services at lower costs.
Designers will need to consider how data is being visualized for patients, the best way to engage with artificial intelligence, and the most practical uses for virtual reality. Some of these technologies are a ways away from becoming commonplace tools in the field, but with the speed at which these tools are evolving, it’s only a matter of time before a whole new discipline of design is introduced to integrate these tools into the healthcare landscape.
DOOR3 is more than capable of guiding your company through the design and development of new products geared towards creating better user experiences and simplifying daily business operations. Our team has been developing since dial-up, and we pride ourselves in our abilities to engage and interact with cutting edge technologies to give our clients a competitive advantage in their field.
Have a question about designing for the healthcare industry? Contact us here.
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