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ux healthcare

A user-friendly future for healthcare

April 09, 2014

Within the past five years, digital apps and services have brought an important part of design to the forefront of business—user experience design (UX). (For the differences between UX, service design and customer experience, see this blog post from Forrester.) Essentially, UX is what makes our interaction with an app or website seamless, enjoyable and intuitive.

Exactly what healthcare is not.

But it’s moving in that direction. In fact, there’s even a conference for it—Healthcare Experience Design (HxD)—where developers and designers come together with other members of the healthcare community to envision a future for health service delivery and digital interactions.

An article published earlier this month by health reporter Marni Jameson said that 2014 may be the year of the patient in healthcare, and it’s because of user experience and service design.

“The big trend is toward consumerism, with the individual customer being the new focal point,” said Pat Geraghty, chairman and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. “Previously, the system was built around the care provider. The new system will revolve around the consumer.”

At the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference, Target medical director Joshua Riff challenged attendees to “think about population health like a retailer” and learn from how they approach healthcare—segmenting customers, understanding their buying habits and creating systems that work for them.

Jameson’s article outlines five ways that technology and consumer-centricity are changing the healthcare experience:

  • Mobile apps and personal health technology put the power in our hands to track and monitor our wellbeing.
  • Remote care means greater accessibility and less time and energy wasted trying to get face time with a health professional.
  • Electronic medical records combined with the cloud gives us access to our medical history anytime, anywhere.
  • Transparency of care costs and quality empowers us with more of a say in the services we choose.
  • Retail healthcare from companies like Walmart and CVS combine convenience and accessibility to fill part of the gap between not seeking any treatment, and having to make an appointment with a primary care physician. New delivery models are part of the equation—the MinuteClinic, which is based on the concept of a one-hour photo, is a quick and efficient way to diagnose and treat common illnesses like ear infections and the flu. Other retailers are using remote care technology at a retail level to “help address the national shortage of primary care physicians.”

These solutions are on their way to health services providers near you, ready to cut out “the most frustrating parts of a troubled healthcare system.” But how will providers adapt and manage new technology as they integrate them within their businesses? With so many factors putting on the pressure—ICD-10, HIPAA, BYOD, business intelligence, Big Data and the Affordable Care Act, for starters—taking on any one project can seem daunting.

Some of this pressure can be mitigated by making sure a sound strategy for implementing new technology is in place, and by forecasting and prioritizing workforce planning as each project is tackled. Healthcare is a behemoth, and providers will need to make sure that the patient is front and center when looking at how each new system will affect the care they receive. Slowly and surely, the industry is becoming more agile and user-friendly for patients—thanks to right-place, right-time technologies and the forward-thinking leaders putting them into action.

TEKsystems at HIMSS14

TEKsystems Healthcare Services will be at HIMSS14 February 24-26 in Orlando! Come visit us in booth No. 729 where you’ll have the opportunity to meet with our executive team and learn how TEKsystems can help solve complex clinical, business IT and HIT challenges.

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