Designing for the Digital Health Revolution

 In Medical Product Design

Health innovator and social entrepreneur Paul Sonnier defines the digital health movement as “the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living and society” on his page, The Story of Digital Health. Using new technologies such as wearable devices and healthcare apps, consumers are more empowered to track, manage and improve their health than ever before.

The digital health movement seeks to provide better service to the user by reducing costs, improving access and cutting down the inefficiencies in healthcare delivery. Adhering to these guidelines allows healthcare providers to personalize care to each patient, and increase the overall quality of care.

“The goal of digital health is to harness technology to activate and sustain users.”

Design Drivers for User Engagement

Steph Habif of Med City News notes the ways smart design can engage users. The goal of digital health is to harness technology to activate and sustain users, and Endeavour Partners reported that half of users who adopt a digital health device stop using it in six months. So how can proper design help to keep these users engaged?

  • Understand human behavior using data. User research is crucial to bringing a better understanding of what incentives drive the target audience. Only by discovering what users want and prioritizing will you be able to effectively serve them.
  • Define behaviors. Determine the simple behavior that you want your user to do, and focus your efforts on that.
  • Trigger action. Your device will need a mechanism that triggers the user to act, whether it’s a notification or an email. Learning how to trigger a user will show you how to engage one as well.
  • Experiment. Not everything is going to work, so try different approaches and record their outcomes. Human behavior is ever evolving, so consider new trends and concepts.

A Better Design Process

To develop for user engagement, it’s crucial for a design firm to be involved at the beginning of the process. The right design firm can learn from patient behaviors, define these behaviors and integrate user needs into the product specifications. This coordinated effort is what’s needed to develop products for the digital health revolution.

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