The adoption of digital health services and technologies has steadily been on the rise. Even in 2018, 9 out of 10 users used at least one digital health tool. But what are the tools that should be used? What are the health technology challenges you should take this year?  And beyond technology, what factors should you consider? Here are 7 medical and healthcare UX challenges we think are worth taking this year.

Challenge #1) Simplify Your Communication

Healthcare when someone is sick, even when they are healthy, can be complicated and frightening. There is a lot of information out there that consumers need to understand. From a UX perspective, that means that now more than ever, you need to prioritize information, and serve up the most pertinent information in a simple, intuitive framework that the consumer can digest.

Challenge #2) Enable Positive Behavioral Change

In healthcare UX, you have a real opportunity to positively change behavior. For example, there is a steep drop-off in drug adherence for patients in the first 90 days. There are many reasons for this drop-off from patients having to learn something new to managing side effects.  In building UX that will enable positive patient outcomes, we need to look not only at the end-to-end patient experience, but also consider their wants, needs, and fears in designing the right journey for new medication. In addition to ensuring patient usage, we need to develop reporting so the doctor and family members can be appropriately informed.

Challenge #3)  Be Personal and Compassionate

Tools in healthcare must meet our basic technology expectations— informing and connecting—but also comforting us in our time of need. If health is personal, successful tools must have a personal, approachable tone, must exude empathy and encouragement, as they connect and educate.

When you are building healthcare and medical tools, think deeply about the user and implications.  Be empathetic and personal, and consider how technology can connect people to others and to information compassionately.

Challenge #4) Integrate Data Visualization and Wearables to Managing Health Conditions

Now for something techy:  wearables and data visualization.  While certain wearables are on the decline, the use cases for wearables is shifting from fitness to clinical use and overall health.  According to Rock Health, this use case will be stickier. 

So what you can you do with this information?  First, consider the trend of movement from exercise to overall health in determining the appropriate use cases for your software. For example, types of wearables on the rise include glucose monitors, and diagnostic and cardiac monitors.

From a UX perspective, make sure the design prioritizes the most important information, is intuitive and simple, and—most importantly—accurate.

Challenge #5) Leverage Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Applications

You don’t have to look very far to see the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in action. Today, machine learning has become more ubiquitous and more meaningful, too—creating user experiences that are more comprehensive and efficient.

For example, in medical UX, AI uses algorithms and software to help doctors make more accurate diagnoses and treatments. Roche has a great example of this. The company’s software uses algorithms to identify potential cancerous cells that pathologists can confirm. AI also plays a big role in increasing the efficiency of medical care providers.

Challenge #6) Voice User Interfaces

In our medical and life science practice, we’ve seen that voice technology can have great potential for impactful use cases. Not only are Voice User Interfaces well positioned to help an aging population of seniors with mobility issues, but VUI also have a place in healthcare labor.  For example, today often highly skilled physicians are spending hours inputting data into health records.

Here are 7 possible applications for Voice User Interfaces: aging and mobility, patient provider communication, physicians notes, speech and hearing difficulty, using vocal biomarkers to diagnose certain cognitive disorders, and patient engagement.

Challenge #7) Personalize Experiences in Healthcare

With technology, more personalized experiences are possible. And, done right, this is critical in healthcare.  Patients don’t want to feel like a number. They need a personalized experience.

There are quite a few examples of personalized medicine.  For example, Doctor on Demand provides personalized live video doctor visits to assess symptoms, diagnose conditions and write prescriptions.  The website Your.MD uses Artificial Intelligence to help you find safe health information so you can make the best choices for your health. 

In Closing

Today’s technology makes it even more possible to improve medical and healthcare UX experiences. But you can’t just deploy technology for technology’s sake. If you’re building or updating a digital health solution, contact us. We’d love to share the latest trends and leading examples.