UX in Healthcare: Design That Could Save Lives

Design plays a vital role in healthcare, and good UX can save lives. Discover how user-centered design principles can improve patient outcomes and experiences.

Aishwarya N K
March 24, 2023
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Today, digitizing hospitals and digital health is vital to improve efficiency, efficacy and quality of services. By 2025, investments in healthcare AI software, hardware, and service market are expected to reach $34 Billion Worldwide. This digitization makes healthcare services more convenient and accessible for patients. But for this to work, the user interface needs to be user-friendly.  

While bad UX in other industries can drive away almost 90% of users, the stakes are much higher in healthcare.

Healthcare apps, websites and products essentially cater to doctors, hospital management, patients and healthcare providers. With healthcare UX affecting so many people across sectors, here are some of the ways you can make it user-friendly:

UX for Hospitals (Doctors, Patients, and administration)

A crucial step in a doctor’s diagnosis is going through the patient’s history. In such a case, no piece of information is trivial. However, displaying large quantities of data in an electronic health record can be overwhelming and even cause doctors to potentially miss out on certain crucial, life-saving information about patients. When designing healthcare interfaces, design a UX experience that is intuitive to their needs.  

Similarly, it’s important to have an optimized interface for the patients as well. This can be done by optimizing the amount of information shown on the screen, using bold colors to highlight important information, and choosing clear, legible fonts that prioritize functionality. App screens should put the most important information (such as doctor contact details) on the home page, especially to accommodate older users who might not be as tech-savvy.

Now, doctors and patients are not the only ones who need an optimized user experience on their software. Record-keeping, billing, pharmacies, and registrations are all crucial day-to-day hospital activities. For a great user experience for hospital staff across departments, UX research should prioritize intuitive designs and easy access to data for faster patient processing.

UX for medical devices and apps

Medical apps and devices have become more popular than ever over the last decade. There have been two reasons that have been responsible for this – access to technology and faster internet, and an increased interest in personal health, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the global mobile health app market size was valued at $ 38.2 billion in 2021 and is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.8% from 2022 to 2030.

  • Example of a not-so-great UX design.
not so good healthcare ux
  • Example of a better electronic health record interface.
healthcare ux

When designing healthcare apps, it is important to put users front and centre. The focus should be on a minimalistic design that does not compromise its functionality and accessibility. You can create an easily navigable app through hamburger menus, UI cards, tabs and gesture-based navigation. The user experience should also change based on the device the patient is using – especially if it is the interface of healthcare devices or smartwatches, as they do not have a lot of space to display information.

For example, Headspace is a guided meditation app with millions of users across the world. There are many reasons why it’s so popular – one is that they use well-explained meditation techniques and calming sounds to put people in a state of zen. However, another reason is definitely their UX. With its clean, minimalistic design, calming choice of music, and careful use of important psychological phenomena (such as Hick’s Law), it became a fan favorite almost immediately after its launch.

healthcare UX checklist

Tracking emotions for better healthcare UX

In the movie Big Hero 6, Baymax is a “healthcare companion” – an inflatable robot that detects, analyzes, and provides solutions to any healthcare issues that a human might have. However, this is not just for physical illnesses or outward injuries – Baymax can also detect a person’s state of mind by looking at their face (analyzing tears as sadness and possible depression) or listening to any signs of possible distress (like when a person says ‘Ow!”).

This is not just a fictional feature in a movie – facial recognition and voice AI tech have evolved so much in the last few decades. It is applicable in many fields – including in UX, where facial recognition tech can effectively detect people’s emotions through their expressions, and this technology can help you when you’re designing the perfect healthcare UX. But how?

Affect UX is a DIY user research platform that helps UX teams test out their prototypes and concepts with a wide panel of 60 million + respondents. However, apart from surveys, we also offer Eye Tracking and Facial Coding technologies that can allow you to accurately understand what your users feel about your product, even unconsciously. All this can help you create a more intuitive product that can align with your users’ needs.


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Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Build the Right Products, the Right Way: Elevate your UX with Qatalyst's integrated user research platform with Insights AI.


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Author Bio

Aishwarya N K
Aishwarya tries to be a meticulous writer who dots her i’s and crosses her t’s. She brings the same diligence while curating the best restaurants in Bangalore. When she is not dreaming about her next scuba dive, she can be found evangelizing the Lord of the Rings to everyone in earshot.

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