Healthcare & Lifesciences: Delivering for Longevity, Wellness and Care with experience design practices

The investments whirlwind also underscores the enthusiasm of the growth of digital solutions and disruptive technologies, slowly transitioning healthcare from a ‘fee for service’ to a ‘value-based service solution’. Heralding a time when millions of patients are receiving their first online video consultation without having to visit a doctor's premises, while thousands of others are using mobile phones as diagnostic tools.

A changing landscape and rapid investments are becoming poised to make 2020 as a landmark year for the healthcare industry. Global health care spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 4.1% in 2017-2021, up from just 1.3% in 2012-2016*, as demographic shifts and an increased focus on patient experience gains momentum.

By 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16%), up from one in 11 in 2019 (9%).

*Source: 2020 Global Health Care Outlook, Deloitte
*Source: World Population Prospects 2019, Report by United Nations

 

It is estimated that the impact of wearables in the health sector (in comparison to other sectors) is 85%, while also highlighting a domino effect technologies like Telemedicine, Robotics, EHR*, AI etc. would have on the future of the industry and many interrelated ones such as the insurance industry, banking industry, healthcare vendors and suppliers, etc.

*Source: The Wearable Life 2.0: Report PwC

As quality, outcomes, and value become the new watchwords for health care in the 21st century, innovative, cost-effective ways to deliver patient-centered service, technology-enabled “smart” healthcare would become solutions incumbent for stakeholders to seek both inside and outside hospital walls.

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Challenges towards Re-invention & ‘Smarter’ Healthcare

Healthcare industry will become more stable and self-sufficient while incorporating technology into every facet of its inner-workings. While issues in its quest to become smarter in the upcoming years would be:

1. Engaging with consumers proactively and improving the patient experience

Historically health care has had a reputation for less-than-positive customer experiences. However, with the growth of millennials and baby boomers being the next age customers, these digital natives would demand higher value for the services and continually shift towards online, resilient and integrated solutions. With an increase in choices, customers would increasingly want to access care and services on their terms.

 

2. Responding to health policy and complex regulations

Health care is second only to the finance industry in the number of cyber-attacks annually. Growing healthcare market complexity leads to more regulatory complexity and increases the need for heightened stakeholder risk management. And while health systems worldwide share overarching health policy and regulatory goals—ensuring quality care and patient safety, mitigating fraud, and cyber threats—regions, and countries would require to grapple and redress their own specific challenges.

 

3. Requirement to train, adapt and integrate exponential technologies to reduce costs, increase access, and improve care

Creating a positive margin in an uncertain and changing health economy through technological investments is incumbent to stay afloat in the scenario of disruptive market forces. However, the time demands of EHR data entry, training to integrate and understand the use of technologies to incorporate clinical nuances, patient preferences, and priorities, while operationalizing programs would also require attention.

 

4. Shaping the workforce of the future

Health care workforce challenges are being felt across with staffing and nursing shortages witnessed in many countries. Compounding the problem is a scarcity of leaders with strategic, next-generation skills to guide and support the transformation to becoming patient-centric, insight-driven, and value-focused organizations.

Digital technology, robotics, and other automated tools do have enormous potential to resolve current and future healthcare workforce pain points—if stakeholders are willing to embrace an augmented workforce, the concept that all of the work that employees do will be augmented; will be extended in different ways.

Globally the life expectancy increased from an average of 29 to 73 years in 2019**, but so has rapid urbanization, sedentary lifestyles, changing diets, and health issues due to that. Rising obesity levels are fueling an increase in chronic diseases—most prominently, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes—even in developing markets.

China and India have the largest number of diabetes sufferers in the world, at around 114 million and 69 million, respectively. Globally, the number is expected to rise from the current 415 million to 642 million by 2040**. Hence the investment in health care simply can’t continue to lag years behind the rest of the world in the speed of IT adoption and innovation.

How design solutions can plug into the gap areas, can create a world of synergy in terms of customer-centric solutions which are most relevant.
*Source: Life Expectancy, 2019 Revised Report, Our world in data
**Source: World Industry Outlook, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, The Economic Intelligence Unit, 2017, citing the International Diabetes Federation
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How can better design add value?

1. Medical Reports and information made simple and engaging

The entire sphere of healthcare diagnosis and information ranging from test data, reports, awareness etc. are marked with a level of stringency, seriousness and complexity. Also for practitioners, the EHR data entry is a time-consuming process. Interaction design thought through interfaces and visual cues can make the information seem simple to engage with, making the patient self-reliant, also easing off the process of recording for practitioners while allowing them to maintain the required level of accuracy and discretion.

 

2. Showing defects at priority

Data based insights and interactive visualizations could keep the patient well-informed, in time. A design approach of thorough user research and engaging user forms could help in to extract (customer behavior and patterns), incorporate user feedback and provide personalized insights and recommendations for wellness & preventive care.

 

3. Administrative work made easy and transparent

Making workflows easy for staff/users to follow, better navigation features through intuitive architectures can allow for efficiency of work also fostering transparency in the process.

 

4. Creating accessibility to a wider audience; reaching out to different stakeholders

Design can help create brand visibility, and through seamless user experience provide a platform for different stakeholders to engage, connect and solve problems. Hitherto limited to an experience in physical space, design integration with technology can drive the healthcare industry towards more virtual and holistic solutions.

 

5. Breaching the Cybersecurity conundrum

While technology-adoption is on the rise in the healthcare industry, it is the threat of hacking and insufficient security measures which is keeping close to 50% of the people from trying out any connected healthcare device. Design can intervene by creating and taking care of compliances through optimized language and visual cues to guide a perception of security. As a result, in the coming years, we can expect hospital administrations and the healthcare industry, in general, to become more proactive when it comes to securing their medical equipment and data.

 

Futuristic trends shaping the Healthcare sector

Over the years the cost to generate a human genome sequence is now less than USD 1,000 and could eventually drop to less than USD 1. As suggested by a report by KPMG*, in coming years, exponential technologies and trends have the potential to dramatically disrupt the systems and processes that have historically defined the industry.

*Source: Healthcare Reimagined: Report KPMGGET IN TOUCH

 

1Healthcare on demand

Healthcare will become a digital service

As more digital platforms (and apps) engage consumers in a variety of ways including tracking medical progress, treatment adherence, reminders, scheduling, and communications, as well as providing the ability to capture more comprehensive data for analysis and ongoing optimization.

 

Wellness

There has been a rising focus on self-management and wellness which is anticipated to grow. So with an increased acceptance in behavioral healthcare (estimated to reach around US$ 240 billion by 2026) and alternative therapies (like naturopathy, yoga, acupuncture).

*Source: Behavioral Health Market, Report by Acumen Research and Consulting,2019

 

Advent in the use of electronic medical records (EMR)

It would provide a consolidated health summary to practitioners; while also passing control of the information to the patient, giving an impetus to the patient to also directly record his own observations.

Think Design’s Recommendation

Consumers are increasingly demanding greater control and transparency and will seek to understand and influence treatment and referral decisions. Evident through the increasing numbers of forums where patients actively engage in discussions and advisory, there has been a shifting landscape of aware and liberal individuals who want control over their own health through self-help. As healthcare providers, it will be important to create access to information that improves transparency, while also opening up channels to allow easier and intuitive understandability and engagement of the patient to self-monitor and take care of their own well being.

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2Personalized and Connected Health

Wearables and smart devices

Increased use of telemedicine (the use of telecommunication and IT to provide health care) is bridging the gap between physicians and patients and is seeing and set to climb 19% annually from $38 billion in 2018 to over $130 billion by 2025*; while IOT, digital wearables will create an ease of data collection and availability. Devices like activity trackers would help customers stay more active and healthier on their own, which can decrease their need to see a doctor, while more advanced devices can monitor patient health metrics such as blood pressure, heart rate, and diet on the go.

*Source: Research report by Global Market Insights, 2019

 

Leveraging Data for healthcare

AI and algorithm-driven diagnostics will prove the power of processing in-depth health data in real-time. Data can predict when a patient will get sick so that preventative action can be taken, personalized healthcare plans created, and the spread of diseases potentially limited before they grow out of control.

 

Patient personalization

Instead of having to navigate through a complicated web of healthcare representatives, a patient's information will be easily accessible to the right treatment options, preventative care, and recommendations can be made.

Think Design’s Recommendation

As the amount of money being spent to take care of one's health rises, consumers will start looking at options including trained professionals who could manage their health spending similar to their retirement plans. Completely personalized experience for each customer can be created by careful navigation through user journeys, as Consumer-focused Medical Plans will soon become a Norm; While wearable devices are a less invasive way to still get great care. Capturing the right data, insightful visualizations, and communicating relevant recommendations would go a long way!

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3Hospital based Innovations

Augmented Reality Training For Healthcare

Using AR, healthcare providers can see diagnoses and procedures right in front of them to learn new skills and expand their knowledge while creating an opportunity to train more providers at once.

 

Hospitals Using Smart Technology

Hospitals have started using smart beds that self-adjust to the correct pressure and support for each patient’s preferences and conditions. Clinics using robots that can monitor a patient without a human provider is also gaining in practice. Advances in technology have created a new wave of products to improve patient comfort and care.

 

Hybrid workforce

Helping clinicians with diagnosis, oncology or deciding precision medicine, an evolving relationship gets established between humans and AI. The rise of medical robotics, drones and autonomous vehicles, is driving the way towards automation and complementing the effort of humans. Drones already delivering medicine, blood and even organs to inaccessible remote areas are opening access of prompt medical around the world.

Think Design’s Recommendation

Imagine a doctor being able to have treatment options pop up on a screen as he looks at different conditions or have growth charts appear around a child during a checkup. Using augmented reality and automation, can alleviate some of the pressure on healthcare providers and once again put customers in control. However, hospitals not only need to invest in smarter technologies but also need to pay attention to employee and vendor engagement which could allow these stakeholders to get trained and leverage the full power of new technologies. Interactive dashboards, seamless process design, navigation systems and cross visibility platforms could open a window to empower these stakeholders; increasing efficiency while decreasing risks.

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4Innovations in Treatments

Augmentation in Humans

Cyborgs: Aesthetically aids are designed to be discrete or even camouflage with the human body, although particularly in prosthetics there is growing interest in high tech design. This sets foundations for a potential future where we could see cybernetic features worn as an aesthetic accessory and an increase in using human augmentation without underlying medical problems.

 

Human implants and gene therapy

3D printing will play a more central role in mainstream medical practice, as the technology becomes more accessible and mature and the cost continues to drop. Gene therapy may allow doctors in the future to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery.

 

Drugs

Biosimilars are the new alternative drugs Generated from living organisms, which when introduced would not only counterweight rising traditional drug prices but also boost the overall healthcare standards in countries.

Think Design’s Recommendation

As these futuristic technologies mature and come closer to easier adoption, an increased focus would be on redefining product design to help them simulate and become comfortable with the experience of the user. Apart from the consumption of new and improved drugs, there would lie the need to educate, inform and engage the consumers before to build trust and at times reduce stigma around the same. Pharmaceutical industries could also focus more on conveying value through their services, a fact which could see a momentary shift in how drug prices competition is leveraged from here on.

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Think Design’s approach and recommendations to delivering delightful healthcare experiences

1. Users, Actors, Entities, Ecosystem

Healthcare is not just about users alone. While users continue to be at our core, we need to be informed about the actors, entities, and ecosystem as well. As a best practice, we advocate drawing these maps out in order to comprehend dependencies. As healthcare continues to be one of the most important contributors to every economy, it is important that we understand its larger scope by looking at system level and service level influences and dependencies.

 

2. Design for mental models

Most of our personas’ motivation to use healthcare systems is not to use the systems, but to work with them to get to their goals; and in healthcare, those goals are organic and unpredictable. As the real- life interactions are complex and emotional and they tend to influence digital interactions as well. In this context, it becomes incumbent on us to look at what we are creating, from the minds of the users. Mental models thus are extremely critical here than anywhere else.

 

3. Be careful with information overload!

Imagine being a patient or a patient care-taker; or a doctor or any other healthcare professional… or even a third party actor like a lab technician. The very nature of healthcare requires “focus” because it is critical to everyone involved. Unnecessary information is detrimental to the user and eventually, us. How do we handle this? Nesting? Visual hierarchy? Orientation to users’ challenges is the key to solving this puzzle.

 

4. Consider accessibility

Designing for even minimum accessibility requirements goes a long way in helping our users in this space. And of course, there are standards and compliances to take care of, in mature economies. While we schedule our design activities, consider additional time and effort to factor this in!

 

5. Prototype and test

Many of us shy away from testing due to the logistics involved… it’s actually not that complicated when we are clear about the methodologies and test cases. We are not talking about formalized methods of user recruitment, focus groups or closed location tests. While all these are also needed, online or one-to-one tests are highly recommended through the process of creation. Whether it is through low fidelity wireframes or visual walkthroughs or interactive prototypes, we align tools and techniques to what our context demands. What is central is the commitment to test before we commit design to our developers. In healthcare, it is all the more important to rollout thoroughly tested products and services due to the criticality of their usage.

 

Impactful partnerships in Healthcare & Lifesciences

Over the last decade, Think Design has been at the helm of redefining Customer Experience (CX) User Experience (UX) and Employee Experience across Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry. Leading Healthcare, Pharma, Healthtech and Patient Care companies have trusted Think Design for advancing their initiatives. Drop in a word or call us; and we will be happy to demonstrate why.

Medtronic
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Emids
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Medical devices, Hospital management systems, Pharma, Wearable tech, Personal healthcare, Fitness, Wellness.

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Services & Expertise

Over the last decade, Think Design has been at the helm of redefining CX, UX and Employee Experiences across Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry. Leading Healthcare, Pharma, Healthtech and Patient Care companies have trusted Think Design for advancing their initiatives. Drop in a word or call us; and we will be happy to demonstrate why.

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