Lessons Learned: Why User-Centered Design is Pivotal for Healthcare Applications

Matt Guzy
August 17, 2017
January 17, 2024

Originally posted by Veta Health on August 9, 2017By: Matt Guzy Finding user-centered design in the current landscape of healthcare applications is like finding a needle in a haystack. Many industries have adopted a focus on design, yet the healthcare industry has been slow to adapt. Some of the most powerful companies in the world have made design their priority, and it’s easy to see the success these conglomerates have had. For example, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, knows that focusing on user experience brings the company success. In our consumer-driven country, healthcare applications need to put more focus on both their patient and care provider users. That’s exactly what sets Veta Health apart - we aim to use our focus to improve the lives of patients and providers alike. User-centered design focuses on empathizing with users and designing to reduce their pain points. This is especially important in healthcare applications because the consumer’s health often depends on their ability to use the software. Applications need to have a frictionless experience and be intuitive to use. Healthcare professionals frequently voice frustration when discussing today’s electronic health records (EHRs). The EHR design is often not user-friendly, which has motivated us to create an exceptional provider platform to ease care coordination for both the provider and patient. As designers, we need to empathize with our users through listening and observing. This ultimately leads to us to identify with our users, and in-turn, improved software. One of the Veta Health platform’s core offerings is remote patient monitoring (RPM) of chronically ill patients in the outpatient setting. Our care provider online platform and patient-facing app create a constant flow of information between all parties. Continuous monitoring enables the care teams to intervene early if the patients experience complications with managing their health. The key to creating a strong partnership between patients and providers is driving engagement through a user-centric product. At the beginning of our design journey, we highlighted data visualization as a key opportunity area. Our goal was to develop a common graph design that could be used by both of our distinct user groups: care providers (using our web application) and patients/next-of-kin (using our mobile app). The designs needed to be highly intuitive and the information easily digestible by both user groups. Unmoderated usability tests were used to evaluate numerous iterations to hone the design. Our new data visualization proved to be a major success, as we were able to reduce the time needed by users to correctly read the data by 30%. With every success come new challenges and learning opportunities. Through our original conversations with users, we had learned that care providers often print graphs, which we had accounted for in the data visualization designs. However, once we observed the care providers using the graphs outside of testing, we realized the majority would print graphs in black and white. Many of our new designs were unreadable when converted to black and white. A new iteration was needed. Since we often showcase multiple sets of complex data at once, various shades of gray would not work. Further exploration and ideation produced our solution: pattern fills. Focusing on black and white readability, iterative testing helped us identify specific patterns to use. Continuously eliciting feedback from our users and empathizing with their pain points allows us to frequently iterate our design to align with their needs, therefore promoting continuous engagement. As Veta Health spearheads the charge to bring user-centered design to the healthcare industry, our commitment to put users at the center of our vision never goes unnoticed. If you'd like more information about Veta Health or have experienced a similar journey, visit our contact page. We'd love to hear from you.