Top Five UX Opportunities in Digital Health

Written by

Geoff Harrison

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Improving the Patient/Provider Experience

In her talk a few weeks ago at ConveyUX, Mary Haggard of Providence Health and Services outlined some of the challenges that healthcare systems face to meet the needs of a rapidly changing population.

Here are five key UX opportunity areas healthcare systems are looking at for improving the patient/provider experience.

More people are developing chronic illnesses than ever before, poorer people are losing their access to care, and the elderly population is growing.

Mary is helping address these problems by creating innovative service offerings that change traditional health service delivery models and allow the healthcare system to scale in non-traditional ways. There is plenty of room to improve the digital experiences for everyone involved. Healthcare systems have much to gain by improving their digital systems and addressing the growing needs of their patients, providers, and administrators.

1. Electronic Medical Record

At the hub of creating better patient and provider experiences is keeping meaningful records and making use of this data for better healthcare outcomes. The concept is simple, but there are several factors in healthcare that make data collection, mining, and analyzing difficult.

First, there are privacy and compliance laws around how information can be collected and who it can be shared with. Second, health records tend to be in various stages of completeness depending on how often someone sees the doctor, what conditions they have, and how a provider records the information. And third, many people’s medical records exist in different places on systems that don’t talk to each other.

But while there are obstacles, there are also great opportunities to start utilizing the information that does exist. In the healthcare studies that we’ve done, there is a genuine eagerness from patients asking providers to personalize this experience even more. This can solve problems like not having to fill out a health questionnaire every time you visit your provider and seeing possible treatment options for you based on patterns of other patients with your profile or within your family.

UX Opportunities with Electronic Medical Records

  • Track and mine a patient’s health history to inform treatment.
  • Analyze data across patients to create more successful treatment plans.
  • Use family history and genomics for more personalized care.
  • Enable collaboration between providers with a shared record.

2. Patient Acquisition

Healthcare is a business and providers need to recruit customers to keep the business running. Referral systems within healthcare networks are still of primary importance, but consumers are starting to have more freedom to access healthcare and even specialty services by themselves. This creates a big opportunity for healthcare providers to have better systems for capturing leads directly. Tools for patients to see provider availability, costs for common procedures, and schedule appointments are coming online now.

UX Opportunities in Patient Acquisition

  • Make appointment availability and scheduling easier.
  • Enable comparing competing solutions based on availability and cost.
  • Connect patient medical records to an appointment for context.

3. Telehealth & Remote Access

There is pressure within healthcare systems to make seeing the doctor easier for patients as well as increase the number of patients a provider can see. Telehealth services are aimed at doing both of these things by enabling a virtual doctor’s visit through some form video conferencing. There are a number of positives when the service works well, but challenges still remain in scheduling, diagnosing without physical interaction, and follow-up procedures. Providers are continuing to enhance these systems and are experimenting with different interaction models, which means it’s still early, but it also shows that this is a growth area.

UX Opportunities in Telehealth

  • Create more efficient and accessible appointment opportunities through telehealth services.
  • Improve provider/patient communication post-procedure.
  • Offer provider-led, web-based wellness programs.

Related: Blink did some independent research on the benefits and barriers for getting aging populations to use telemedicine services.

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4. Patient Monitoring

To keep costs down and give patients more freedom, more treatment and care is occurring after the patient leaves the clinic. When providers create a care plan, patients can interact with it through an app rather than the traditional six-page instructional print out. Patient interactions outside the clinic can be monitored as well with devices capable of reporting how someone is doing with their prescribed physical therapy plan and even how their biometrics are changing. The challenges for healthcare providers are integrating devices and systems that weren’t originally designed for these types of interactions. However, as the benefits to both patients and providers increase, we will continue to see more demand and infusion of technologies to enable out patient monitoring.

UX Opportunities in Patient Monitoring

  • Integrate device and pharmaceutical usage with the health record.
  • Monitor treatment progress at home.
  • Track and report treatment progress without having to see a provider.
  • Monitor patients with recurring and chronic conditions.

5. Provider Service Delivery

The traditional model of scheduling an appointment and going to see a doctor at an office for all of our medical needs is changing. Today, providers have express care clinics that don’t require appointments and encourage patients to see nurse practitioners for common ailments. And in some cases, an in-person visit isn’t required at all.

When a patient does see a provider, the whole process can be simplified and made more seamless by integrating systems. Furthermore, providers can be more efficient and give more consistent care if they have personal history combined with information on common procedures.

UX Opportunities in Provider Service Delivery

  • Create more access to care with non-traditional express care clinics.
  • Make provider intake, discharge, and billing systems more efficient.
  • Allow referral services such as lab work, specialty providers, and other services to be more seamless.
  • Show the provider relevant notes from past visits.
  • Show the provider relevant digital health education materials.

There are a multitude of UX opportunities in healthcare right now to design products and services that can improve the lives of patients, providers, and healthcare systems. It’s exciting to see healthcare organizations embrace UX thinking as the best way to deliver positive outcomes.

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