All worthwhile projects have their big challenges. This is no different for product design at babylon where every day we strive to get closer to bringing affordable and accessible healthcare to every person on earth. Digital healthcare holds its own distinct set of hurdles: every day we’re gearing up to tackle and overcome them.
Here are the top 10 challenges for UX in digital healthcare we‘re seeing right now:
1. Showing users that healthcare can be proactive rather than reactive
Users are primarily used to reactive healthcare: that is, treatment in response to a symptom. Digital healthcare opens up the ability to continuously understand what going on in your body: something that users have never experienced before. Our challenge is to make sure we help users see and understand how valuable and powerful this sort of technology can be for them.
2. Making users comfortable with healthcare without complex legacy systems
Healthcare has become synonymous with complex paperwork and slow communication. The challenge for us is to show users that simple is better, and doesn’t have to mean lower quality of healthcare.
3. Helping users trust healthcare not delivered directly from human doctors
Although technology has transformed many other important areas of our lives like how we socialise and how we bank, healthcare remains largely undisrupted by technology from the user perspective. A large part of this is related to how much we depend on human doctors to give us healthcare that we can trust is of high quality. This presents a huge challenge — how do we reassure our users that the healthcare we deliver in our app is on par (if not better) than a traditional healthcare system based on physical human interaction.
4. Educating users that healthcare is more than tracking fitness and appearance
“Is your app like Fitbit?” is a question that we hear quite a lot. In some of our users’ minds, the idea of tracking and managing your health often leads to fitness apps and devices. However, good health is much more than how you look or how fit you are. Helping people see that we offer a whole new category of healthcare products beyond fitness is part of the challenge of evangelising digital healthcare.
5. Understanding users deeply to see where you can add the most value first
When you’re a startup taking on a legacy system with many different parts, it’s impossible to tackle everything at once. You have to find those parts of the user experience where you can add the most value. We saw a specific part of current healthcare that was a big pain to the user: finding a doctor’s help when symptoms come up, quickly and easily. We started there. Knowing where to go next with your product is a big challenge, and it needs to be rooted in research that deeply understands users’ pains and needs.
6. Democratising healthcare requires you to design UX that scales globally
When you’re trying to bring affordable and accessible healthcare to everyone on earth as we are, you can’t afford to focus only on one country or market. babylon operates in the UK, Ireland and Rwanda at the moment and these countries have very different requirements from a UX and technological perspective. As we strive to help more and more people, we need to keep designing our UX so that it scales across these new markets to create a cohesive and delightful experience for all users.
7. Simplifying complex processes
Although some may be used to it, getting access to healthcare services traditionally requires a lot of complex and time-intensive processes like calling to book an appointment, waiting in the GP office, and collecting a paper prescription. We like to question all these processes and push the boundaries on how simplified it could become. Simplicity, ease, and speed are core parts of our how we make healthcare delightful to our users. It sounds easy on the surface, but it’s extremely tough to implement in practice. It requires you to really unpack and understand the current user experience, and reconstruct something that is simpler and more effective.
8. Helping patients help themselves
Traditionally, only qualified medical practitioners have had the right training to interpret the results of different medical scans and tests. With innovations in UIs and automated algorithms, we have a greater opportunity than ever to present patients with medical results directly and visualise this in a way that is easy and intuitive to understand. The challenge lies in really understanding what easy and intuitive means to a user, whilst remaining sensitive to the very real anxiety and discomfort that can come with getting medical results.
9. Bridging the needs of clinical, product, and commercial teams
A great user experience requires satisfying a number of different types of needs: we want to deliver accurate clinical information with the right tone, within a product that is delightful to use, while making the cost and plan options simply available to the user. The babylon design team brings together all the needs of our various groups across the organisation to create a product that hits the mark on all fronts.
10. Using new technological innovations — wisely!
Cutting edge fields like Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality have great potential for helping us transform healthcare, but we have to be very careful to use and deploy them within the product in a way that truly delights and adds value to the user. The market often expects that such a product has to have these new innovations, but our challenge is to keep the user at the heart of everything we do, and only leverage the power of these new technologies where they truly help us serve our users better than before.
If you’re excited to face these challenges with us, consider joining our team! Check out our available roles.
Article co-written with my exceptional colleague Anna Zawilska
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.