The onset of the pandemic has shown us why digital healthcare is the way forward. Something as simple as using wearable healthcare gadgets could save lives.
When no other alternative was available, talking to doctors over video call came as a much-needed relief for millions of patients. According to Forrester, virtual care visits reached above 1 billion in 2020 in the U.S alone. The pandemic proved that digital healthcare should not be a privilege but a right.
The only way to increase the popularity of digital health is by making it accessible, easy to use, and efficient. When engagement is made simple through a brilliant UX, users will more readily adopt digital healthcare methods.
Through this blog, we’ll tell you what exactly digital health is and how a long-overdue UX re-design in this industry can shape the way we approach healthcare in the future.
What Is Digital Healthcare Adoption?
Digital healthcare adoption, or digital health, uses advanced technology to make healthcare more accessible, affordable, and efficient for everyone.
Digital health is a larger ideology that includes concepts like eHealth and telemedicine. The healthcare industry’s adoption is to communicate with patients or predict and prevent any future health complications.
There are multiple advantages of digital health, some of them being:
- Preventing health issues before they arise through data and AI/ML prediction algorithms.
- Making healthcare affordable for the masses.
- Possibility of a centralized medical record portal, making access to patient history and information a lot easier for doctors.
- Share patient data and receive help quicker through technological means.
- More advanced benefits like robotic surgeries, better research phases through data availability, providing healthcare in remote areas.
Digital health doesn’t just refer to robots delivering your medicine to you or VR being used to treat phobias. It can also be as simple as that app that reminds you how many steps you’ve yet to walk. Or the app that books your doctor’s appointment for you, or any other way through which doctors can communicate with you efficiently. A precedence research study claims that the digital health market will reach an estimation worth of $833.44 billion by 2027.
When we talk about everyday digital healthcare adoption like health tracking apps, UX plays a significant role in popularizing the trend. Let’s get a bit more into detail about why design thinking in healthcare is so critical:
How UX Design Can Help Digital Healthcare Adoption
Statista claims that as of May 2021, there are 53,054 mHealth apps available just in the Google play store. In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, digital health trends saw an increase since patients flocked toward alternate healthcare options when physically going to a doctor was not possible. According to research by Rock Health, live video consultations between doctors and patients increased by 11% in 2020 compared to 2019. In addition, digital health tracking through wearables and apps increased by 12%.
There’s no doubt that technological advancements are not going to slow down. And these statistics tell us that people are now more willing to adopt digital healthcare. However, not all digital healthcare interfaces necessarily offer the best user engagement. Healthcare apps and digital outlets have long suffered from an archaic user interface, primarily due to the surfeit of regulations they operate under.
We list out the 5 best practices to ensure the best user experience while designing for a digital healthcare platform.
1. Inclusion of accessible design
There’s a big chance that the people using mHealth apps are suffering from some sort of disability. Accessible design means designing your product with the disabilities of people in mind so that they can use it just as effectively as everyone else.
Take, for example, someone visually impaired. If you provide simple solutions like audio descriptions of what’s happening in any videos on your app, they’ll be able to tell what’s going on. On the other hand, if someone elderly uses an app to book an appointment, you need to keep their motor disabilities in mind. Clubbing together controls in your app/website should make it easier for them to navigate.
When you design your products while keeping accessibility in mind, you design for everyone. One of the earliest stages of design thinking requires you to empathize with your end-user. When design thinking is efficiently used in healthcare, the result will most likely be a lot better too.
Gamification means including aspects like point scoring, leaderboards, and animated rewards as a possible user engagement technique. Simply put, they’re typical animations you see while playing games, used in your applications or websites. There’s no reason why these cannot be used in the digital healthcare industry.
Gamification has proven to be a very effective measure of connecting with users and motivating them to use the platform further. When a possible reward, albeit purely virtual, awaits the user when they achieve a milestone, their desire to work towards it will also increase.
For example, giving users points for using their fitness tracking app daily or even popping up with an animated reward for completing their desired steps for the day will increase engagement.
3. Push Notifications
As a simple design implementation, push notifications will do wonders to increase your users’ engagement with the app. Simple reminders to take medicines, order prescriptions, or complete the physiotherapy exercises for the day can help your users meet their goals.
Occasional check-ins through push notifications and making it easy to get support through chatbots will make your app a success. Your users likely won’t feel annoyed with the push notifications either since the notifications will be concerning their own health.
4. Data visualization
According to Statista, the number of wearable devices globally is estimated to reach more than one billion by 2022. A common trend among wearable device users is to flick their wrist up, take one glance at their smartwatch, and be on their way.
If one quick glance depicted data with a lot of technical jargon, users would have difficulty understanding precisely what it means. Hence, this will decreasing engagement. Therefore, it’s essential to keep attractive and straightforward data visualization in mind while designing any healthcare application/website.
With the help of remote patient monitoring, you can make sure each user has a different, personalized experience while using your app.
Remote patient monitoring is a digital healthcare adoption method used to gather data about an individual patient through advancements in technology. This means using a monitoring device and having the results communicated with providers/doctors.
Using RPM information to detect trends/provide a personalized experience will most certainly increase engagement and make the application more useful. For example, a conversational tone using RPM information can be established with the user with a chatbot.
To collect such data, your healthcare app must have the capability to connect to other apps like sleep tracking/blood pressure monitoring applications. Personalization is also a great way to approach patient retention, as it makes it easier for healthcare institutions to build stronger relationships with their patients.
Digital healthcare is the future of medicine. Healthcare now means predicting and preventing illnesses before they happen. Such a trend is only possible through continuous user engagement; only possible by offering a UX. Irrespective of the industry, an emphasis on UX design is a must to warrant success!