Optimizing UX for the Internet of Medical Things
The implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare is growing rapidly. The industry is seeing an increased need for workflow optimization for electronic health records (EHRs), smart devices, wearables, patient portals, and remote healthcare access.
In fact, the IoT medical devices market is projected to reach a worth of $94.2 billion by 2026. The user experience (UX) across all of these devices — for patients and healthcare staff alike — is crucial as the influx of IoT is being implemented faster and faster to meet rising demands.
Why UX Is Important in Healthcare
The product development industry is no stranger to the importance of UX design. For users to interact with and continue to use your software or product, it must cater to their needs. This seems simple when you have a straightforward target audience. But in healthcare, your target audience is essentially everyone.
This is because UX encompasses every interaction with the healthcare product, software, or system. This includes the ability of patients to use the device or system, how it makes them feel, what customer service is provided, and even the community discourse around the tech.
Patients come from all walks of life, and healthcare professionals have different technological needs depending on their specializations. Seamless integration experience with the IoT is essential to optimize efficiency in healthcare facilities.
For instance, if healthcare staff can’t navigate the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) with ease, this slows down processes, which in turn leads to frustrated, burnt-out employees and dissatisfied patients with unmet needs. Simply put, it can lead to mistakes in the healthcare system that can’t afford to be made.
Ways To Incorporate Better UX in the IoMT
To effectively implement great UX design in healthcare tech, you must have a deep understanding of patient and provider needs and preferences. Your design must cater to these nuances to make the experience intuitive, efficient and relevant.
Hospitals often don’t have time to train patients and staff on how to use every small piece of IoMT tech. Therefore, the UX should be intuitive; users shouldn’t need a thousand-page manual to figure out how to access and use the tool effectively.
Efficiency is crucial in every industry but especially healthcare. People’s lives quite literally depend on it. That isn’t to say that you have to build tech with zero bugs or kinks, but making the design as simple and quick as possible to navigate and achieve desired results is key. Also, make sure to provide optimal customer service with fast turnaround times.
Finally, if the IoMT device or software isn’t relevant to the task at hand, it won’t be used. Healthcare professionals are already bogged down with crowded hospitals, long patient waitlists, and grueling work hours. Patients have ultra-specific needs that should be met before anything extraneous is added. For example, a patient may not use telehealth services if they require in-person treatment such as an IV drip. Conversely, patients with limited mobility may need remote healthcare options above all else.
Virtual healthcare has risen in popularity due to an increased emphasis on contractable disease prevention and access to healthcare services in remote locations. Urban versus rural healthcare needs and concerns should be top-of-mind when designing telehealth services. For example, rural patients may need telehealth more frequently but not have access to high-speed internet or smart devices.
Keep the level of care that can be provided virtually in mind. Unexpected health industries, such as dentistry, can benefit from telehealth services, as long as new systems are implemented efficiently and care is taken during the training process.
Virtual platforms for healthcare should be designed with the user in mind, and that includes the healthcare providers. Make sure to follow HIPAA guidelines and design a secure platform, but also design one that is easy to use and interactive enough that patients and providers leave feeling satisfied.
Online portals have been popular for a while now. They allow patients to review their appointments, past visits, lab results, current medications, and doctor communications. Although many patients and providers are used to using these online means of communication, the UX of the site can always be improved.
Many people use phones or tablets more than laptops and PCs, so offer mobile-friendly versions of the platform in the form of apps or mobile-optimized websites. Provide accessibility accommodations such as high-contrast colors or audio-assisted text.
A newer IoMT addition includes inpatient portals. Typically, patients and providers have remotely accessed portals to access and share healthcare information. Inpatient portals allow people that are currently hospitalized to view and track their healthcare. The UX of inpatient portals is important because staff and patients don’t have the resources to learn a complicated platform or deal with navigation issues. The point of these tools is to have real-time information, so time is of the essence in the UX, as well.
Smart devices and wearables are becoming more commonplace as patients are increasingly interested in real-time tracking of their health. There are many types of helpful wearable healthcare tech, such as:
- Continuous glucose monitors;
- Electrocardiogram sensors;
- Skin patches for medication delivery and vital sign monitoring;
- Hydration and sweat monitors.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in wearable tech. As it continues to advance, UX designers of this healthcare technology should keep in mind the exact user needs for wearing these devices. Consider comfortability, sensor time, clothing choices, and more.
Moving Forward with IoMT UX Design
The IoMT devices discussed here are not all-encompassing. There are rampant healthcare tech advancements that require the IoT for optimal functioning, like biotech and pharma manufacturing. Keeping abreast of patient and provider needs is the most important factor for UX design.
Medical Source：Medical Product Outsourcing