Design Standards for Saving Lives – UX in Healthcare



The onset of ever-changing technology has resulted in the health tech industry reaching new heights at unprecedented rates. The industry is expected to reach a valuation of USD 280.25 billion by 2021. According to McKinsey & Company, health tech has the potential to create $350 billion – $410 billion in annual value by 2025.

Adopting telehealth measures to see patients has seen a 340% rise since 2015. Likewise, wearable technology has seen an increase of 13.7% annual growth and is expected to reach a valuation of $12.44 billion by 2022. The figures all tell the same tale – health tech is the way forward, and with it rises a unique demand in developing the best user experience for healthcare.

UX design in healthcare is different from what we see in other industries. The stakes are a lot higher as well; it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say good UX in healthcare can end up saving lives. We discuss how UX can make a difference in healthcare and how you can make sure your design hits all the right spots.

How UX Makes A Difference in Healthcare

Medical errors account for nearly 251,000 annual deaths in the US alone. In a study conducted over 6.5 years, it was reported that 25 wrong-site surgeries were performed just in Chicago. From the astonishingly high medical error number, prescription/diagnoses errors account for most of them. 11% of European Union citizens have been prescribed the wrong medications. When the UX used by doctors looks like it’s never been updated since the internet was invented, wrong-site surgeries may well just happen due to horrendous UX.

The healthcare industry has transformed with the onset of newer technology. Doctors now use many methods to communicate with patients/staff, especially since digital healthcare is rising. Providing doctors with electronic health records of their patients would save time, increase the chances of a good diagnosis and make everyone’s lives easier.

Good UX should be a priority for any technology. If you’re still wondering just how UX design can transform the healthcare industry, we’ll give you a few compelling arguments:

1. Reduce diagnostic mistakes

The alarming number of diagnostic mistakes can potentially be blamed on bad UX in healthcare. For example, a poor design left doctors unable to tell the left from the right brain, eventually prompting the software system to be recalled by the FDA.

To reduce potential diagnostic mistakes that stem from bad design, making the user experience clean and easy to use is critical.

Divami designed a drug reference app for physicians called Medicopia, which details the drugs available and their effects. By making the application easy to use through an intuitive interface and design, Divami made sure doctors wouldn’t misunderstand any information.


A simple user flow made sure the app is easy to use

2. Making information available quicker

We have all sat in a waiting room before being called in for the doctor’s appointment. And, then once you are inside, it takes time for the doctor to get the necessary information from you. This is crucial for them get acquainted with the patient or decide on the potential drugs to prescribe. Reducing this time by making information readily available can help doctors spend more time with their patients.

Take, for example, the emphasis on improving glanceability Divami undertook while designing the Medicopia app. Ensuring the data isn’t all piled together and informs doctors that all they need to know as quickly as possible could save precious time, especially in emergencies.


Improving glanceability through efficient design

3. UX in healthcare to benefit digital health

Digital health refers to adopting technology in healthcare (think wearable heart monitors) to make it accessible for the masses. When implemented correctly, it can ensure preventive healthcare is adopted rather than symptom curbing by predicting upcoming complications. In addition, through remote patient monitoring, doctors can advise on prescriptions more accurately and quickly.

All of this can be possible only if UX designers in healthcare make sure they empathize with patients and doctors alike. By keeping accessible design in mind, the interface will be available for everyone to use, including the disabled.

Design Standards For The Healthcare Industry

As you saw, it isn’t even a question of if UX can help the healthcare industry. Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. The question now becomes what UX designers can do to make sure only the best experience reaches the doctors and the patients, which could quite literally save lives.

Let’s talk about what we at Divami keep in mind while designing UX in healthcare:

1. Empathize with doctors and patients

When you fail to empathize with your end-users, you fail to make good designs. For example, part of the challenge while designing a user interface in healthcare is to consider the needs of doctors and take into account what the patients want.

With empathy, you’ll be able to think about the needs of everyone. The accessible design will inadvertently become a priority as you walk a mile in the shoes of patients who may have a disability or doctors providing critical care.

2. Make the information glanceable

UX in healthcare suffers from a significant flaw. Most digital healthcare platforms look ancient. As a result, to gather the necessary information needed, doctors may need to go through a few clicks, clicks they don’t have time for in emergencies.

Making data glanceable means making sure that the necessary information reaches the user through just a glance. For example, patient history, information, and current status shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to be accessed by doctors. With the help of quantitative data visualization, improving glanceability must always be aimed for.

3. Decrease the user journey time

Time is of the essence. You’re not looking to increase engagement through your design. While designing for the healthcare industry, the focus must be on user journey. The general rule of thumb is to revolve around accessibility. It should not take forever for the healthcare professional to reach the desired destination.

To reduce the user journey time for the Medicopia app designed by Divami, we made sure not to overcomplicate things and make the user flow as easily. For example, a few clicks take you to the information page of the desired drug, so users won’t spend too much time trying to gather the information they need quickly.

4. Minimalistic design

In an environment where lives are hanging, doctors must be able to make vital decisions very quickly. And, for this, if they are consulting an app or software, the last thing they need is an over-designed, visually overwhelming layout.

Keeping the layout and the user flow extremely simple is the top priority for UX in healthcare. There need not be any gamification, engagement, personalization, or overwhelming design.

5. Connect patients and doctors

UX in healthcare isn’t all about what doctors and nurses use behind the scenes. It’s also about forming a network between doctors and patients, all while serving the prime purpose of making healthcare easily accessible.

Making a helpful network between patients and doctors will make sure doctors can effectively spend more time with their patients. Thus solidifying a human connection even if the communications take place via communication technology like video calling.

Final thoughts

Poor UX in healthcare isn’t just an inconvenience; it could potentially be the reason behind an unfortunate incident. When lives are on the line, ingenuity has to be executed with utmost care. 

The Medicopia app is a great example to show how good UX can aid digital healthcare. It helps save doctors’ time so they can worry about their patients, not where the patient’s files are. Excellent UX design in healthcare is achieved through meticulous planning and empathizing with both doctors and patients. When actual human lives are at stake, good design isn’t just a choice; it’s an invaluable need.

Thanks for the submission.