The healthcare industry is not known about the user experience for its forward – thinking philosophy. Complicated menus, outdated designs, and clunky forms are used by patients, providers, insurers, and others in the field. Everyone seems to be using a unique interface from the primary care physician to the pharmacy tech — and users get caught in the crossfire.
UX design has a tremendous opportunity to grow in healthcare. The bar is so low that it could go a long way toward happier users even minor improvements.
For example, a new law on price transparency requires healthcare organizations to publish information in a format that is easy to consume for both people and machines. This law came into being because some UX healthcare was so bad that people couldn’t tell if healthcare firms were deliberately misleading users or simply using poor design.
Users of healthcare systems should not have to wonder whether their experiences are hostile or merely inept.
Healthcare users deserve to be able to navigate smart, simple systems with ease. When a patient accesses the system, they often have a lot of stress that requires a smart yet simple intuitive site. Here are three ways UX designers can bring positive, user-focused change to the healthcare world:
1. Build user personas and empathy maps.
For many different users and audiences, all product developers feel the temptation to take the easy route and create one product. Products designed for everyone, however, inevitably become products that do not work for anyone.
Think about the last time you booked a doctor’s appointment software. Was this an annual inspection? Have you been ill with a specialist and scheduling time? Have you made someone else’s appointment?
Factors such as these help users and users dictate good product design.
Using empathy maps, you can take users to a deeper level. For example, a sick person may not think clearly because of illness, so when creating the UX, the designer should consider these challenges.
Personal challenges play a huge role in healthcare, but this knowledge is rarely reflected by the UX healthcare unfortunately. You can make much more informed product decisions by digging further into the needs and perceptions of your target users.
Stockton’s Pediatric Associates understand their users. Instead of asking staff to call patient lists to remind them of appointments, this provider has switched to an automated email and text system. The audience appreciates the timely communication, and after the change the practice noticed a significant reduction in no-shows.
2. Make a GV design sprint.
Design sprints from Google Ventures (GV) are a useful new product design and also work well for existing products and features. If something doesn’t work well, get poor feedback or just need to be re – imagined — a GV design sprint is the perfect solution.
When Forrester researchers evaluated IBM Design Thinking (a GV – like design sprint), they found that teams with the sprint were much more effective than without this useful tool. Design – performance speed doubled, alignment times dropped by 75 %, and development and testing time dropped by a third.
Let’s say you’ve got a piece of software to view blood test and laboratory results. You’d probably do a design sprint on a particular aspect of what’s expected for a big product. This sprint should consider users, specific interaction scenarios, and results delivery.
Designing this sprint would involve talking to users, doing basic work quickly, and brainstorming some quick prototype solutions to address the issue.
Depending on your GV design sprints experience — you can either follow the process to the letter or adjust it— or hand out pieces for each team to finish. Design sprints are a useful tool in the modern UX tool belt, but I suspect that they are not used properly by many healthcare software teams. If more teams were running these exercises on their existing products, a slew of great UX ideas might come up with them.
3. Perform thorough user testing.
People with a great UX are at the heart of every product. Healthcare products should be more people – oriented than most, but how long do healthcare product teams spend with real users researching, interviewing and testing their software? The answer is either not as much as they ought or not at all in my experience.
Imagine working on a product that requires users to enter receipts to be reimbursed for healthcare expenses on a flexible expenditure account (FSA).
You would like to implement a new feature that allows the mobile application to scan the receipt and pull important details in order to pre – fill the receipt form. In a user – first environment, after the initial low – fidelity mockup, you would run the first user testing session. Users would try to do a job and tell you how they’d do it — not the other way around.
You can start making improvements and save time that would be wasted later in the process by testing before you get involved with code or visual – heavy mockups.
Testing like this should take place every few weeks, from low to high fidelity, including the functional version at the end, throughout the entire process. The UX needs a user-first refresh in healthcare. Gaining buy-in for philosophical changes throughout the company is never easy, especially when it involves additional work up front.
Focusing on the UX leads to much better time and budget products and savings. Look at your existing products and those products that are being developed — then consider how to help you build better solutions by focusing heavily on the UX.