As we look ahead, 2024 is set to present some exciting new trends in digital healthcare user experience. We have listed the top 9 trends that will dominate the sector.
The health-tech sector is among the fastest-growing in the world today, making the stakes super high. Investments in healthcare AI software, hardware, and service market will reach $34 Billion Worldwide by 2025. Several new technological trends are emerging in healthcare at different maturity levels. Many with significant progress insight.
As a UX design firm, we’re thrilled when we’re offered the chance to collaborate on things with a purpose, such as healthcare projects. We at UX studio have a long history with healthcare UX. For example, our agency redesigned the app for Nanoleq’s innovative wearable device that provides real-time biofeedback to enhance well-being through mindful breathing.
If you are looking for a design partner for healthcare UX, let’s get in touch. We are ready to help with any product design and research challenges you might have.
Healthcare UX Challenges
Ease of use
In the past few years, some relevant changes have occurred in healthcare. By now, not only medical professionals can take care of each patient’s health. Users also have the option to choose from a wide range of digital products. These products can assist them in improving performance and overall well-being. Treatments no longer remain boring must-haves; instead, they become services. Modern technology in the healthcare system provides patients with better service. It is also more comfortable and safer. But for this to work, the technology needs to be user-friendly.
User-friendliness holds the key to the success of these apps and gadgets in the long run. Healthcare workers need to feel as if they have always used these tools. In our experience, a healthcare product’s design process must focus on what people want. We must consider what doctors struggle the most with and what treatments and tools the patients need. A good UX for healthcare apps should cater to a wide range of users. This includes those with visual, auditory, or cognitive impairments and limited internet access. This is crucial for healthcare tools, as it can benefit up to 25% of the population.
With the aging population, healthcare UI/UX designs should consider features for them. These include adjustable text size and contrast options. Video and audio alternatives, legible fonts and icons, and simple navigation are also worth mentioning. There is an increasing use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in clinics and hospitals. Thus, protecting sensitive personal information is essential. Secure authorization measures are necessary to prevent data breaches and ensure patient privacy.
UX Studio in Digital Healthcare
Below are some examples of our UX agency’s work in healthcare UX.
We’re always ready for the challenge that exciting healthcare UX projects offer. If your company has encountered some obstacles, book a free consultation with us, and let’s discuss the possible solutions.
But further ado, let’s check out what digital trends in connection with UX design in healthcare we can foresee and what are some problems in healthcare that can be solved with UX.
Top 9 digital healthcare UX trends
1. The Rise of Artifical Intelligence
Managing patient data and diagnostics with AI
AI-powered platforms in healthcare are revolutionizing the user experience. They use advanced algorithms and data analysis. This way, they provide personalized and efficient healthcare solutions. These platforms streamline processes and improve communication between patients and healthcare professionals. They enhance the overall quality of care.
AI technologies will help collect and efficiently analyze patient-generated data. This way, they can provide adequate healthcare solutions. AI chatbots still have some difficulties with user-friendliness and data security. Yet, these tools come in handy in many areas of healthcare. According to Tractica, by 2025, AI will help manage the following areas in the healthcare industry:
- Medical image analysis
- Healthcare VDAs
- Computational drug discovery and drug effectiveness
- Medical treatment recommendation
- Patient data processing
- Medical diagnosis assistance
- Converting paperwork into digital data
- Automated report generation
- Hospital patient management system
- Biomarker discovery
Artificial intelligence (AI) will not replace human jobs entirely. It still requires human supervision and oversight for accuracy, efficiency, and ethical decision-making. However, AI can support healthcare professionals, enhancing their capabilities. With AI technologies, healthcare professionals can benefit from advanced tools and algorithms. These can analyze data, provide diagnoses, and suggest treatments. This collaboration between AI and healthcare professionals can revolutionize the industry, improving patient outcomes and transforming healthcare delivery.
1. Digital products for mental health and telepsychology
Our mental health has become a priority in the last couple of years. Doctors and everyday people suffer from anxiety and other forms of depression. Upcoming trends must deal with this problem. People are more willing to open up to an AI conversation partner.
Therefore, healthcare user experience (UX) is crucial in establishing contact. A good example of UX solutions is Wysa, which uses soothing colors and a friendly therapist penguin avatar to connect with users.
Mental health applications are also effective in preventing burnout. These apps help guide your thoughts towards mindfulness. They also teach techniques for stress reduction. Meditation apps come in handy if you have just started this journey. Only three to five minutes a day can change your life in a few weeks.
As an example, Headspace is also a nicely designed app perfect for beginners. The onboarding is with a guiding voice, their main component, which leads you through guided sessions. After a few minutes, you feel totally zen, even in your smallest body parts. The application is built around video clips, where the design is essential.
Its designers created it in a way that connects the users and the characters of the videos by growing empathy. Their approach is to start the exercises with small steps. When a session is completed, that unlocks the next meditation in the series. Many applications offer free exercise plans with various intensity levels and exercise styles. Usually, they come with well-explained videos to avoid injuries.
3. Medical wearables (+ digital health insurance)
Smart devices have become common in the last few years. This produces an unimaginable amount of data for researchers and experts. Almost everyone owns a smart bracelet, smartwatch, or fitness monitor app on their phone.
Self-monitoring applications made it possible to analyze and change our habits for our well-being. We use colorful data visualization to help us understand how we live; we track our daily activities and steps, analyze our sleeping habits, and check our blood pressure.
Posture trackers analyze our body movements and notify us when we need to stand up and have a short break. It’s getting even more important as people work from home and the space they are living in their everyday lives is getting smaller. Employers also realized this and endeavored to support their remote workers.
Technology can democratize access to quality care, digital health enables healthcare to be globalized. Patients can adopt devices and bring the collected data to their physicians. That is why recently insurance firms incentivise healthy lifestyle by giving away gift cards for people achieving their goals measured by their digital wearables.
That is why, recently, insurance firms have incentivized healthy lifestyles. They give away gift cards for people achieving their goals measured by their digital wearables.
Healthcare wearables come in various forms, not just fitness wristbands. Currently, the most popular healthcare wearables are devices that measure blood pressure. They use electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors to track heart rate, detecting atrial fibrillation. These devices can send alerts and report a patient’s condition directly to a doctor.
Companies can outperform their competitors by prioritizing excellent device connectivity. From a user experience perspective, allowing easy data exchange is key. When it comes to wearable technology, the main goal from a design standpoint is to simplify data input and overall usability.
It is important to remember that people use these trackers on a daily basis. Any difficulties that impact the user experience can put your product at a disadvantage compared to other competitors. Providing convenient and smooth user experience solutions is crucial to distributing healthcare wearables effectively.
4. Telehealth (Telemedicine + Remote patient monitoring)
Telehealth simplifies patient-provider connections. It works through video conferencing, replacing phone calls, appointments, and in-person visits. It emphasizes the need for user-friendly telemedicine software. This is especially true when used with wearable devices.
On these platforms, patients can enter symptoms. Wearable tools send information about temperature, blood oxygen level, and blood pressure. After receiving them, doctors can monitor and analyze the data. Dashboards provide guidance and send alerts if changes occur during the disease. This helps medical staff respond immediately.
Some say that telemedicine is on track to become the new norm. Patients and doctors will interact virtually more frequently. Messaging or video chatting makes everything easier for both parties. Patients get answers without putting themselves or others at risk by visiting crowded public spaces. It also saves time for medical professionals.
Patients often struggle to describe their symptoms accurately. Sharing a patient’s perspective can make consultations even more effective. Combined with AR (also mentioned later on), telehealth makes this a lot easier. With the increasingly popular at-home lab tests, patients can access a wide range of analyses from the comfort of their homes. They can also combine tests with telemedicine, like the clinician-administered at-home COVID tests.
It’s essential to remember that these apps are helpful for fast consultations. When designing the product, it is crucial to focus on patients’ well-being. In case of illness, a full in-person check-up appointment should happen to address any potential health issues. We should enhance their healthcare experience and promote their well-being. The key is to prioritize patients’ health and provide comprehensive check-ups.
5. Digital therapeutics (DTx)
Physicians prescribe lifestyle changes for a long time. We can expect they will prescribe smartphone apps and digital technologies soon, too. According to the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, DTx delivers medical interventions directly to patients.
They use evidence-based, clinically evaluated software (accessible via a smartphone or tablet). This way, they treat, manage, and prevent various diseases and disorders. There is even a product library to help differentiate DTx software from other mobile health apps. They must be evidence-based and align with eight core principles.
An example is an application (Insula) that assists type 2 diabetics. The app recommends personalized insulin doses to patients. It also acts as a coach in managing their diabetes.
Designers should figure out how to prevent users from losing interest in DTx apps. Since physicians often prescribe these apps for chronic illnesses, they may need to be used for more than just a few weeks.
6. Vocal Biomarkers and Virtual/Augmented Reality
Will it be possible to diagnose illnesses from the sound of your voice? Researchers do expect massive market growth in the biomarker segment by 2028. Vocal biomarkers are medical signs deducted from the features of your voice. They reveal a lot about your health. Besides, they also help in detecting severe diseases and health risks. Vocal biomarkers have huge potential; let’s imagine how amazing it would be to identify diseases over a phone call.
Scientists researched the technology concerning coronary artery disease, pulmonary hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease. A California-based company is just developing an application that detects COVID based on a 60-second sound file. A reputable company in this field is EVOCAL Health. It provides digital diagnostics through vocal biomarkers and AI.
Their technology can improve patient health by analyzing the sound of the voice. Speaking may appear straightforward. Yet, it actually requires the coordination of multiple organs, muscles, and sensory nerves. Healthcare apps can detect and interpret the issue if any of these elements malfunction. This way, they enhance the user experience.
Virtual Reality (VR) can help us gain experience and simulate situations that we have just now had a chance to explore. Some healthcare fields already use VR, and this tendency will be growing. VR is gaining space in more therapeutic situations. AppliedVR is a platform that specializes in healthcare. It lets patients escape scary medical treatments during a guided relaxation session, assisted by a VR tool. Taking them into games or traveling to lovely places will distract the patient from the reality of unpleasant treatments.
VR has been widely used to treat PTSD and anxiety. Physicians use it as a tool to distract sensitive patients from unpleasant and often invasive procedures.
Augmented Reality (AR) can show extra information on the digital device in addition to the real world. With this, it can pioneer surgical planning or diagnostics.
Augmented reality can help save lives. Showing the locations of nearby automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is a great help for medical workers. Applications like AED4EU and the Layar browser work this way. This technology provides crucial information to find and assist those in need quickly.
An excellent example of using AR technology is AccuVein. It helps healthcare workers locate veins for injections. Moreover, these software technologies could be part of surgical training. They can help prepare medical students to practice in real-life environments.
Additionally, a well-designed interface creates a sense of direct user involvement. It can foster trust and ease intuitive decision-making between medical professionals and patients. UX designers must develop user-friendly solutions that are both fast and engaging. This way, they can make VR and AR applications widely adopted and practical. There is also potential for using AR in medicine packaging.
Many people do not read the drug product description. They also don’t always take the medicine as prescribed and recommended. This can lead to lessened efficacy and safety of the therapy. AR can enhance product descriptions and make reading instructions more transparent and enjoyable.
7. Voice User Interfaces
This UX trend aims to create hands-free and user-friendly technology. Designed for people with disabilities, it enables them to access various functions independently. A well-designed UX for a voice interface should ensure that users:
- Can operate the tool without touching the screen. This was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, and since then, it stayed as a good practice.
- Can use the tool regardless of visual impairments or paralysis.
- Can perform medical tasks. This is important when healthcare professionals have occupied or clean hands during surgery.
Voice user interface means interfaces that facilitate contact-free communications. They allow users to control and command the device systems with speech. In the healthcare sector, a voice user interface can be an ideal solution for contactless operations. It is even more beneficial to integrate with the graphic user interface.
When healthcare workers wear gloves to use touch screens or typing, it is not always as smooth as without gloves. Moreover, the gloves can get dirty. In such realities, contactless operations via a voice user interface combined with a graphical user interface are more efficient during the pandemic and post-pandemic.
8. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
The influence of telehealth and digital therapeutics is expanding. Yet, there are cases when physical presence is still required, and patients must get to a facility. Transportation problems are one of the leading causes of inequalities in healthcare.
Millions of appointments are missed yearly due to no or unreliable transportation. The demand for healthcare providers to make NEMT an added value will increase. They will ensure this through dedicated rides, taxis, or ride-sharing apps.
That not only can help patients in rural areas but also those with disabilities. Also, people with invisible disabilities like anxiety when being on public transportation. An example of NEMT Companies is Modivecare. They use an interactive voice response system, web portals, and mobile applications.
Through these, patients and facilities can book and track healthcare trips. Members can also rate their ride experience to ensure the best service. The market is projected to experience large growth, with an estimated value of USD 14,577.43 million by 2028. This represents a significant increase in market value within a six-year period.
9. Digital health tools for pets
With people spending more time at home, pets have gained importance. This is reflected in the pet care market, which is set to exceed 350 billion USD by 2027. Veterinarian challenges mirror those of human physicians, leading to similar digital tools and tech solutions.
Wearables and smart trackers dominate the pet digital health market. They including smart harnesses, collars, and radars remotely monitoring pets’ vital signs. AI-powered collars like Invoxia’s Smart Dog Collar track pet health and location in real-time. Other innovations include Pawport, a pet door system that is adjustable via smartphone. The market comprises Pet Healthcare, Pet Owner Convenience, Communication and Entertainment, and Pet Safety.
Why UX is Important for Healthcare
Here are some ways UX design can enhance healthcare products by improving the overall patient experience.
- Improving patient engagement and satisfaction. Designers need to create intuitive and user-friendly interfaces. This way, healthcare products can help patients navigate complex medical information. Also, they can access their health records and engage with their healthcare providers more effectively.
- Streamlining communication and collaboration. Effective UX design can also improve communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals. It is important to create seamless workflows and intuitive interfaces. Healthcare products can help efficient communication and reduce errors. Also, they enhance teamwork among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
- Ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all users. Healthcare products should be designed to be usable by everyone. This can be done by considering different individuals’ diverse needs and abilities, including those with disabilities or those who speak other languages.
The future of healthcare UX
The healthcare industry is going through an exciting transformation. It emphasizes enhancing user experience (UX) design. Chronic diseases become more common, and healthcare costs continue to rise. There is a growing demand for intuitive digital health platforms that cater to users’ needs.
In the field of healthcare UX design, we are seeing exciting trends. One of them is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Another is the focus on human-centered design approaches. Designers are also dedicated to developing user-friendly medical devices. These products make healthcare more accessible and approachable. Healthcare UX design’s future is about improving outcomes, reducing costs, and offering personalized experiences. These will make a difference for patients.
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