- 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, popularity of mental health solutions and 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.
🚨🧑🏻💻 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.
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.
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.
In some countries, accessibility is a legal requirement for most digital products. For example, in the United States, healthcare organizations, 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. But suggestive and intuitive UX design will help patients figure out how to use the platform.
For example, we developed an online therapy service, which 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-center 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.
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.
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 4 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. 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 an 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 literally 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 continue 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 into account their specifics and pay special attention to the color palette, using nature-like shades and soft graphic elements.
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 empowerremote healthcare and revolutionize telehealth services, as well as UX design for healthcare. Due to their nature, DTx solutions need to emphasize education of patients when designing an app, and involve medical specialists to create 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 the 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.
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 off smoothly, an experienced, reliable contractor is key.
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.