The more all industries become dependent on mobile applications and software platforms for business, the more critical user experience (UX) design will be in any given practice. The same is true for healthcare, where tech tools are empowering all kinds of new solutions right now.
With innovation transforming the ways we coordinate and receive medical care, UX stands to play a unique role in the future of healthcare. A good UX design improves usability and accessibility. Paired with trending medical devices for consumers and care facilities, such a design can elevate the impact of new tools to provide more comprehensive care to patients all over the world. As telemedicine becomes more common, the evolution of healthcare UX will be significant in providing equitable and accessible treatment to the world’s most vulnerable patients.
But understanding the future of healthcare UX design requires understanding the industry. Explore the importance of good UX in healthcare and how technological advancements are evolving UX design. From here, you can get a better sense of where UX in healthcare is headed.
The Importance of Good UX in Healthcare
More adults than ever own mobile devices and are using them to help manage their healthcare. These devices are playing more prominent roles both at home and in the care facilities as patients and providers apply them in everything from data management to diagnostics. But the presence of new technology means a more complicated environment for healthcare UX design.
For patients and care providers alike, the rise of mobile technologies has added to a list of challenges that only seem to grow as time goes on. These days, the challenges include:
- Rising cybersecurity threats.
- A growing senior population.
- Accommodations for rural populations.
- Inequitable care access and outcomes.
- A seemingly never-ending pandemic.
To combat these challenges, care providers need comprehensive and accessible tech tools. This is where UX comes in.
Without an innovative and efficient UX design in the software we use to manage our care, many of us will be at a loss to access the treatments we need promptly. UX is everything when it comes to usability, accessibility, and functionality. It can be the difference between a mobile application that saves lives and one that users neglect as an option when navigating their own health.
But what makes a good UX design?
For healthcare applications, a good UX is defined by its ability to cater to the broadest possible user base. This makes accessibility and inclusivity key features for any healthcare tool.
It’s important to remember the range of users your UX won’t satisfy without suitable
accommodations in the design. For instance, seniors alone are expected to make up as much as 23.5% of the population by 2060. This growing population requires the means to access and utilize healthcare technology as treatment standards pivot. This means building in features like:
- Text size options
- Color variations
- Text-to-speech and video options
- Simple navigation
- Clarity of language and icons
Additionally, the millions of users living with some form of visual or auditory impairment, or cognitive challenge, and limited internet access across linguistic and cultural boundaries require that you implement an accessible and inclusive design. As the nature of healthcare technology shifts through tech advancements, it only
becomes more critical that application developers place value on the customizable and
accessible aspects of care tools.
Fortunately, we are seeing these features come to many of the innovations in healthcare.
Innovations in Healthcare UX
Healthcare changes as rapidly as the industry’s technology, meaning advancing care solutions with life-saving potential. In the era of a global pandemic, this technology has progressed quickly in the direction of user-focused tools, making care more accessible. As a result, UX design is evolving to produce cleaner and more adaptable platforms. Alongside these advancements, there’s a surge in healthcare product innovation, further pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of healthcare UX.
Here are some healthcare technologies that have disrupted modern healthcare UX and demonstrate how UX is changing for the future.
Telemedicine is an aspect of telehealth that allows patients to contact their physician in real-time from a distant location. It’s been around in some form since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that telehealth solutions took off in popularity. Now, telemedicine apps and software are taking over the healthcare space, offering everything from data storage and communication to remote patient monitoring.
But telemedicine platforms dictate new approaches to UX. For instance, most users won’t be too familiar with telemedicine and will require clear guidance and tutorials through the software. An effective design focuses on clear onboarding while keeping usability simple throughout the process. Success with a telemedicine UX means planning around user functionality and making the process clear and accessible.
Information systems are the definitive tools for healthcare administrative work. These tools allow for the communication and safe storage of patient data for analytics and research. In the modern era, these systems are being improved by new channels for data collection and advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The future of healthcare information systems, however, depends on effective UX design. Care administrators have to juggle patient information while doing other tasks, such as navigating a telemedicine call or using other technologies. This requires an adaptive system that stores data while protecting identifying information.
Wearables on the Internet of Things (IoT) are making their way across industries. In the medical field, these connected devices enable the tracking of all kinds of medical data, which can then be communicated seamlessly between doctor and patient. But the UX has to promote transparency and privacy if these tools are to be integrated effectively.
Wearable devices need accessible navigation, allowing the user to look at exactly what data is being collected and how it’s being used. As these devices and their
timely insights become more commonplace, they will increasingly become a staple of healthcare UX design for the future.
The Future of Healthcare UX Design
Developers of all healthcare tools understand that technology can play a vital role in
improving care outcomes. UX is an integral part of this process and one that will come to define the future of care. As tech evolves, so too will UX design. We are already seeing these changes come into play as UX designers build experiences for larger audiences with these new tools.
All told, the UX design for the future of healthcare centers around three prominent values. These are:
All the innovations of the modern age can make it both harder and easier to achieve these goals. You’ll have to accommodate new technology using existing standards for accessibility and navigation, ensuring that your design is compatible with assistive technologies as well as the new devices being popularized across the healthcare industry.
From telemedicine to wearables, these new tools are changing healthcare. They allow for greater accessibility and more options for all kinds of patients and users. However, the UX design itself can still make or break the experience. If you want to develop a comprehensive user experience that invites in previously underserved audiences and gives them value in the form of care options, then you have to consider adaptability as well as accessibility.
The future of healthcare UX design is a system that works for everyone, everywhere. This means simple navigation, assistive tool functionality, and streamlined usability features.
Future healthcare is more equitable healthcare, so design your healthcare UX to accommodate users however and wherever they want to receive care.
Where to Learn More
Don Norman, the grandfather of User Experience Design, advocates a more prominent role for designers. He calls for designers to move from human-centered design to humanity-centered design.
Learn more about the evolving role of designers in our ever-changing, turbulent world in the online course: Design for the 21st Century with Don Norman
Learn more about usability, design thinking and user experience at the free library of UX literature here.