If healthcare companies focus on patient-centric digital products, they will not only be improving their users’ experience, but reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary visits to healthcare centers and optimizing the use of resources. They will also be using the power of new technologies to save lives.

Here are four factors that make user experience design (UX) a key piece in rethinking the future of healthcare.

More and better access to healthcare

Across industries, better UX is synonymous with higher levels of adoption and usage. Particularly in the healthcare segment, this translates into more access to healthcare by doctors and other professionals, even for people in remote locations or far from urban centers.

Telemedicine is advancing. According to the CDC, in the United States in 2021, 37% of adults used telemedicine at least once in the previous 12 months. Everything seems to indicate that this figure is set to increase. The UX methodology may be the key to ensuring a sustainable increase.

But it’s not just about telemedicine. All healthcare applications must be user-centric. This is an industry where emergencies abound. They must not only be very simple to use but also responsive.

One of our partners in the healthcare industry asked us to work on the development of their application. At Making Sense, we detected that patients were giving up using the mobile channel and preferred the desktop experience -much less comfortable- or even the phone call or personal visit, just because the application did not make their clients’ lives easier.

From prescription to prevention

From specific devices (such as glucose meters) to cell phones themselves, people have mobile and connected devices capable of monitoring blood, oxygen levels, and other vital signs. With a combination of investment in education, the use of predictive technologies based on artificial intelligence, and applications with a rich UX, healthcare centers can drive a cultural change whereby people report any anomaly as soon as it occurs, speeding up waiting times, generating preventive mechanisms and avoiding saturating healthcare centers.

A leading consultant estimates that AI applications could see annual cost savings of up to USD 150 billion by 2026.

Similarly, these devices can be used as a communication hub that sends personalized messages linked to treatments, drug purchases, advice on improving quality of life, or anticipating epidemics.

Unlocking the key resource: physicians

Healthcare systems initially moved forward with digital transformation initiatives that did not prioritize user experience. Inside healthcare companies, there was a paradox: the time that physicians used to spend on paperwork, which was supposed to be drastically reduced, is now spent filling out digital forms with screens that are difficult to navigate, thousands of features with no apparent use, and tasks to be performed with countless steps.

Simplifying workflows, analyzing processes from scratch, and interviewing physicians to understand how they currently use and how they need to use their applications are essential to maximizing patient care.

The Importance of Inclusiveness

The aging population is a global phenomenon The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent. Moreover, the CDC estimates that 6 million Americans have vision loss and one million have blindness. And, Statista estimates that 13.5% of the population has some form of disability.

An inclusive UX design is successful when it understands the peculiarities of each of these users and takes into account their capabilities, needs, usage patterns, and preferences. The purpose it to provide users with solutions that will allow them to intuitively access the healthcare services they need and even exploit the benefits of self-service without overloading the always-demanding resources of the companies in the sector.

In conclusion, integrating UX into digital products allows healthcare companies to improve their business results, optimize the performance of their staff, and, most importantly, enable a better quality of life for their patients.