Healthcare UX — Design that Saves Lives

No matter how much some healthcare organizations can be resistant to change, innovations are inevitable. Technological advancements have penetrated digital healthcare solutions, such as electronic health records, symptoms, prescription management apps, and appointment scheduling platforms. Good UX design improves the usability and accessibility of any digital products and services in healthcare, creating a positive user experience.

In this article, we’ll talk about UX design for healthcare and why it matters based on our experience. Learn about the benefits, challenges, and future of healthcare UX. Let’s go!

Reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents

Key takeaways

    • User-centered and effective UI/UX design helps create a personalized user experience, increase apps’ accessibility, and educate patients.
    • The challenges of developing UX design of a healthcare platform: legal regulations, privacy protection, interoperability, and multiple user types.
    • Such trends as VR and AI, DTx, the popularity of mental health solutions, and the patient-centric approach will define the future of healthcare UX design.

What is healthcare UX design?

When we say UX or user experience, we’re referring to how users interact with an app, services, and solution. It includes various aspects, from interface navigation to accessibility.

UX Design Elements

UX design components

🚨🧑🏻‍💻 The article is based on our experience: we designed multiple healthcare applications for our clients, from small startups to medical centers and pharmacies. We provided development and design, project management, market research, and consulting services. Overall, we are an old hand at it, including the UX in the healthcare industry.

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How is UI/UX design used in the healthcare industry?

User-centered and effective UI/UX design can benefit digital healthcare solutions in many ways. Here are the 3 most common benefits of prioritizing UX when developing a digital healthcare platform:

Create a personalized patient experience

The foundation of every UI/UX design project is user research. When you study your users under a microscope, you can pick what’s relevant to your customers and make better service offerings.

Through personalization, a product or service can blend so perfectly into a user’s daily routine that the interface feels very intuitive and natural to use.

Talkspace, an online therapy platform, takes personalization and customization of services very seriously. When you first visit the website, their main call to action is to take the quiz to find the exact type of mental health support you need.

A question from a quiz on a white background

In a questionnaire, Talkspace asks about the user’s intentions and expectations from the therapy, as well as the preferred gender of a specialist

Here’s another example. When it comes to customizable features — fitness apps are second to none. The Fitbod app uses AI features to build individual workout plans based on your specific needs. The app tracks your progress and adapts to your workout goals on the fly, offering only the most effective exercises to keep you on track.

When building a fitness-focused healthcare UX, develop personalized features like custom workouts to engage your users. It’s also a good idea to implement a system for personal goals and achievements. It will help motivate users to reach new heights in their fitness journey.

Increase accessibility of healthcare services

Interfaces that are easy to navigate, intuitive, and have clear and concise information can make digital healthcare services more user-friendly for patients with different abilities. For example, large, high-contrast fonts, alt texts, and audio cues can help people with visual impairments or hearing difficulties to understand the provided information.

Example Of Healthcare User Experience Design: Main Page of Rest Assured

Rest Assured, the telecare platform uses accessible design elements and alt text on all images

In some countries, accessibility is a legal requirement for most digital products. For example,  healthcare organizations in the United States, Under Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are required to make their information and communications technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities. This applies to websites, web applications, software, and hardware.

Also, an efficient and user-friendly UX design assists patients with receiving healthcare services online, which has been important during the global pandemic. Accessing healthcare services and medical advice on your own, from home, can be challenging and complicated. However, suggestive and intuitive UX design will help patients figure out how to use the platform.

For example, we developed an online therapy service that allows patients to consult their therapists remotely, reducing the need for travel and increasing accessibility for people who live in remote places. Focus on user-centered UX helped us make online therapy more convenient by using minimalist and non-overloaded interfaces, setting up a clear layout for therapist profiles, and useful filters so a user can match with a professional faster.

online therapy app

On the platform, users can pick a therapist that suits them and schedule a session right away

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Educate patients on a product

UX design can help with user training — different design elements and content inside the app can guide users through the product’s features and functionality. For example, clear language, engaging onboarding, and interactive elements can help explain how to use the product effectively and ultimately lead to a more informed and engaged patient base.

UX designers know that educational features can be very useful in healthcare UX design as they help users stay informed on medical issues and even prevent diseases. Medication tracking apps like Medisafe provide users with helpful features for managing their prescriptions. These include smart medication and refill reminders as well as information on side effects. Medisafe also notifies users about how different medications interact with each other. All in all, the educational features will improve your healthcare UX and encourage your users to lead healthy lifestyles.

On its main screen, GoodRx’s designers mapped out the flow, describing how the platform works — it’s highlighted on a different (beige) background and contains illustrations

Help patients monitor their health

Nowadays, healthcare digital products are much more advanced than before which explains their increased popularity. With the advent of smartwatches, health monitoring features have become highly accurate, allowing users to control their heart rate and blood oxygen. Modern healthcare digital products rely on health tracking features more and more often to boost user engagement and offer additional value to clients.

Health monitoring apps require a slightly different approach to healthcare UX design compared to the other types of medical apps. When creating such apps, UX designers need to present large amounts of information to the user in a simplified format without overwhelming them. Using simple charts and graphs can be effective for directing the user’s attention to the most important data. That way, your clients will quickly find the information they need without getting lost in the process.

Simplify medical appointments

Today, there’s an abundance of digital products designed for managing medical appointments. Their popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic, and they have since grown into a whole separate type of medical app. Medical appointment management apps share some similarities with task management applications. For example, they often have built-in calendars for tracking upcoming doctor appointments. This feature allows doctors to plan efficiently and helps patients be aware of any changes in the doctor’s schedule.

When building a healthcare UX for an appointment management app, keep things simple. During the healthcare UX design stage, try to shorten the user flow by reducing the number of steps the user needs to go through. Any healthcare UX designer will tell you that an optimized user flow is essential to the success of a modern app.

Overall, UX design for healthcare helps hospitals and doctors streamline work processes and better serve patients, providing a tailored experience. Ultimately, it makes taking care of yourself more manageable and widespread, increasing access to medical services.

Healthcare UX design and development: key challenges

In healthcare, UX challenges are almost inevitable. When it comes to someone’s health, things get serious, and mistakes cannot be forgiven. The medical platform should be thought-out, secured, and protected from top to bottom. Check out the four key challenges to consider:

Laws and regulations. There are many regulations and acts that control healthcare solutions. Depending on the country you operate in, you need to research what’s required. For example, if you work for American users, your design has to be HIPAA and PHIPA-compliant.

Privacy protection. In healthcare, you work with a lot of sensitive and strictly confidential information: not just name or address, but very often — medical diagnosis and prescribed medication. Your solution needs to be protected from cyber-attacks and security leaks as it will impact the UI/UX design. For example, you will need to include password suggestions and two-factor authentication in your user’s journey.

Interoperability standards. Interoperability is the ability of computers and software to exchange information between systems. In medical development, interoperability refers to timely and secure access, integration, and use of electronic health records (EHRs). Lack of it can cost a company financial penalties, legal problems, and extra headaches. Only 22% of EHR-integrated apps support FHIR, the industry-wide interoperability standard for data exchange.

Different types of users. Healthcare apps are used by several groups of users at the same time: doctors, administrators, patients, and insurance specialists. So, you may have to create multiple versions of the same app. For one of our projects, we once developed over 100 screens for 3 different user roles.

The future of healthcare UX design: 4 trends

With new technologies transforming the ways we coordinate and receive medical care, UX design stands to play a unique role. We put together 4 trends to keep an eye on because they will take over the future of healthcare design:

🤖 VR and AI

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) are the technologies that will be used on digital healthcare platforms to improve the quality of services and enhance the patient experience. For example, VR technology can be used to provide non-medication treatment to patients with stress and anxiety.

Have you seen how ChatGPT takes over the world? Similar AI algorithms assist with diagnostics and identify potential health risks before they become serious problems. Chatbots powered by AI can be used to answer patients’ questions, provide education, and help users make more informed decisions about their health.

🧠 Digital solutions for mental health

After the pandemic and series of lockdowns, mental health needs have risen, and the demand for new treatments continues to increase. The market needs more accessible, remote, and easy platforms to take care of yourself, manage anxiety, and promote mindfulness.

For example, the niches of depression management or mental health help for children and teens are still pretty empty. Look into this area if you want to be riding the wave in the future. When working on such applications, designers will need to take their specifics into account and pay special attention to the color palette, using nature-like shades and soft graphic elements.

See also  Designing a Meditation App in 2023: Tips & Step-by-step Guide

💊 DTx

DTx stands for digital therapeutics, software solutions that have evidence-based, clinically evaluated therapeutic capabilities. For instance, chronic disease management and prevention platforms, such as eczema or sleep-wake disorders. These platforms deal with very serious conditions, therefore they need to be scientifically backed and have an experienced R&D (research and development) team on site.

Many sources predict that in the upcoming years, DTx will empower remote healthcare and revolutionize telehealth services as well as UX design for healthcare. Due to their nature, DTx solutions need to emphasize the education of patients when designing an app and involve medical specialists in creating data-informed interfaces.

💁🏻‍♂️ Patient-centric care

No one wants one-fits-all solutions or advice when it comes to health matters. Instead, patients want to use solutions designed specifically for them.

Personalization and customization will continue to be big trends for many years to come. There are 4 main factors that contribute to patient-centric care and need to be considered: education, communication, feedback, and shared knowledge. To encompass all aspects of the patient’s interaction with the startup, its services, and the product, patient journey mapping is an essential tool.

📺 Telehealth services

Many healthcare digital products are focused entirely on telemedicine — providing online doctor consultations. After exploding in popularity during the pandemic, telehealth apps aren’t expected to go out of style anytime soon. This is not surprising, as telemedicine apps are becoming more impressive in terms of their accessibility features and video call functionality.

To create a great healthcare UX for a telehealth app, focus on improving accessibility and simplifying onboarding.

⌚ Integration with wearable devices

Another popular healthcare trend is integrating mobile apps with wearable devices to track users’ physical health. Smartwatches are equipped with precise sensors that allow medical apps to gather more accurate health data in comparison to ordinary mobile apps. This technology is getting better every year, so it’d be wise to implement wearable device integration in your digital products. This way, you ensure that your healthcare app will attract users for years to come.

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Final words

Our goal was to convince you that user-centered UX is extremely important in healthcare solutions and worth paying close attention to while developing your platform. But also to show that there are challenges when you develop a medical services app. To make sure you avoid pitfalls and start smoothly, an experienced, reliable contractor is the key.

About us

We are a team of over 190 experts who help entrepreneurs from all over the world validate business hypotheses. At Purrweb, we can create an MVP in 4 months with a UX-driven approach and focus on analytics. It doesn’t matter if you need a mobile app, web, or desktop platform — in just 120 days, the app will be ready to share with investors and users.

Have a question about UX design for your solution? Leave your email here, and we’ll get in touch to help.

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  • What is UX design?

    UX, or user experience, we’re referring to how users interact with your app, services, and solution.

  • What do healthcare UX designers do?

    UX design in healthcare includes various aspects of end-to-end user interaction, from doing user research to designing interface navigation and accessibility.

  • Why is user experience important in the healthcare sector?

    UX design for healthcare industry helps hospitals and doctors streamline work processes and better serve patients, providing a tailored experience. Ultimately, it makes taking care of yourself more effortless and widespread, increasing access to medical services.

  • How do you make a good UX questionnaire for healthcare?

    All questionnaires start with research goals and target audiences. After setting the goals, think about the questions — they should be clear, reliable, and interesting. Then, search for respondents. Don’t forget to use a convenient research tool, for example, Google Forms.

  • How to create a good UX/UI design for a healthcare solution?

    Healthcare development is not an easy task. To make sure you avoid pitfalls and start smoothly, an experienced, reliable contractor is the key. Contact us at [email protected] if you need a consultation or a quote.