A good user interface (UI) is a fundamental factor that determines the success of an application. The UI plays a significant role in the user experience (UX). It’s concerned with the users’ interaction with software, while the UX deals with the product’s overall experience.
What is a User Interface in Healthcare?
User interface occupies a significant portion of the design activities of systems. That’s because the interface will decide how users will interact with a system’s functionalities. Nowhere else is the importance of UI more pronounced than in software application development.
That holds as the entire user experience depends upon how people can navigate the features of an application. In light of this, it should come as no surprise that the UI and UX vary according to industry.
The interface of a social media app will be completely different from that of an app for booking movie tickets. That’s simply because the functions of both applications are vastly different, so the desired UX requires the appropriate UI. In light of this, the UI and corresponding UX for healthcare apps are especially important as they must allow users to use the full range of functionality.
What Makes UI/UX in Healthcare Different?
Medical applications are meant to improve patients’ lives and make it easier for healthcare providers to deliver care. For this reason, the quality of UX design in healthcare is paramount.
For example, a practice management solution must incorporate and streamline all the workflows required to run a physician’s practice. On the other hand, integrated healthcare solutions need to include numerous patient engagement systems, billing software, and electronic health records.
The processes of healthcare software design for both of these applications must feature intuitive healthcare UX. In other words, it mustn’t take a long time for users to get accustomed to it. Ensuring this is the essence of healthcare UI/UX design. Let’s have a look at some of the prevailing healthcare UX trends –
1. Interactive Virtual Reality
Virtual reality provides an immersive, simulated environment for people to have a virtual feel of real things. It’s precisely for this reason that VR has started-off major healthcare UX trends. The realistic experience that VR can mimic has helped take healthcare UI design to new levels.
Moreover, it has improved the clinical outcomes and the overall user experience in healthcare by leaps and bounds. Virtual reality is touted to have a transformative effect in treating behavioral health problems and phobias by simulating triggering environments and allowing experts to help patients better.
Moreover, VR solutions for training doctors and EMTs have delivered one of the best UX in healthcare technology. Whether it’s healthcare management or mental health services, the UX trends in healthcare ushered in by VR are here to stay.
2. Skeuomorphic Design
Skeuomorphic style of design has been one of the most prevalent healthcare UX trends. It entails designing an interface that resembles an actual object that we’re familiar with. Common examples include applications for an alarm clock, notepad, camera, or emails.
A skeuomorphic approach to medical UX design goes a long way in making a healthcare app more interactive. UX in health technology requires it to be as intuitive as possible so that users can spend as little time as possible acquainting themselves with it.
3. Data Visualization
The advent of healthcare technologies began producing data at an exponential rate. Not only did it become necessary to store and manage it, but also to assess it. This paved the way for medical informatics and healthcare analytics solutions. As a result, it became effective to include UX design in healthcare data analytics solutions. Visualizing patient data helps doctors and medical researchers gain valuable insights into people’s health and allows policymakers to make informed decisions about population health management.
Additionally, visual representations of large amounts of patient information make it easier to interpret, resulting in doctors making decisions faster. Once restricted to corporate board rooms, data visualization has become one of the most common healthcare UX trends.
Wearable health technologies like smartwatches and IoT-powered garments too offer visualizations of wearers’ data to improve the overall healthcare user experience.
4. Interactive Chatbots
Chatbots have become indispensable in customer support. Gone are when a person had to call customer care and wait until being connected to an executive. Smart chatbot solutions reply to user queries in seconds. Healthcare applications with interactive chatbots are a staple in the industry for healthcare UX solutions. However, changing user preferences have begun to show that older chatbots with machine-like replies are fast becoming obsolete.
Newer healthcare UX trends point towards the increasing popularity of AI-powered chatbots that showcase a degree of emotions in their replies. In other words, people want the UI of healthcare software to include the human element for better interactivity.
5. Voice Interface
Most of the latest smartphone models feature a voice assistant that can search the web, make calls, type messages, and perform other activities. Some of the latest UI design solutions for healthcare feature voice-controlled functions. Additionally, the growing push for healthcare automation too has seen voice interfaces as more than mere novelties. By offering hands-free usability, this feature enables people with disabilities to access application functions without any help. This alone is a giant leap and represents a UX revolution in healthcare. But designers are skeptical of voice controls as they might raise privacy concerns in otherwise HIPAA compliant solutions. But voice assistants have a definite place in future trends in UX.
6. Customizable mhealth Apps
According to research, the global mhealth market is expected to reach $250 billion before this decade is out. There are healthcare applications to manage many aspects of personal health and wellness. The growth of cloud computing in healthcare has propelled the popularity of mobile applications for doctors.
Customizable mhealth applications increase patient engagement by allowing changes in drug recommendations, appointments, and personalization of notifications and other features.
Integrated healthcare solutions require electronic data exchange coupled with medical records management. As a result, mobile health applications that need adjusting for these functionalities often need customization as per provider needs.
7. Patient-Centric UI Design
The conversation around medical app UI design is never complete without talking about how patients feel about it. Most of the growing healthcare UX trends talk about making the interface centered on patients. Healthcare UX design trends that include elegant graphics, adjustable text, easy-to-find features, and low latency increase the usability of healthcare applications. This is especially helpful for older patients who might not be technically adept. After all, what good is medical technologies if patients find them difficult to use?
User experience and healthcare are entwined when it comes to health tech. Medical technology must not sacrifice usability to incorporate functions. Comprehensive hospital management systems that feature healthcare interoperability have incorporated many aspects of modern healthcare UX trends. UI/UX design in healthcare is an evolving challenge. There is no single silver bullet solution for all applications. As devices and platforms change, so too must practice in building interfaces for users. In light of this, medical software development must remain innovative to stay abreast of UI/UX trends.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.