5 healthcare UX design trends that are changing patient expectations

Digital transformation in the healthcare sector has changed the way people monitor their mental and physical health, communicate with their doctors, find medical information, and purchase prescription drugs.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these changes, giving rise to digital doctors and other fully-remote healthcare services — while also pressuring traditional providers to bring various aspects of their patient experience online.

Now, whether you’re running a hospital, private practice, or medical insurance company, investing in healthcare UX design is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the space.

Because of innovative technologies like cloud computing, AI, blockchain, virtual reality, and IoT, people have developed higher expectations for healthcare organizations — particularly when it comes to interacting with digital products, such as websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, patient portals, and so on.

Whether they’re scheduling a doctor’s appointment, accessing personal health data, applying for insurance, or simply paying their medical bills, patients expect a fast and smooth user experience. And when it comes to something as important as their health, along with the health of their loved ones, people will pay more for — and maintain loyalty to — healthcare services that deliver superior patient experiences via elegant digital solutions.

So if you’re looking to enhance your organization’s patient experience, consider the following healthcare UX design trends:

Online patient portals

Telehealth solutions that allow patients to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, review test results, and video chat with a doctor or nurse are not exactly new to the healthcare industry — but they are quickly becoming central to all patient experiences. Care providers with online portals that are slow, cumbersome, and difficult to navigate will almost certainly lose current and potential patients to organizations with more inviting digital products.

Patients want to be able to take care of their medical business quickly, easily, and remotely from their desktop or mobile device. Also, patients don’t want to use a portal that looks stale and outdated, as this can make them feel like their private information isn’t secure.

If your business is in the process of building or redesigning its online patient portal, the importance of a fast, smooth, and responsive UX and UI cannot be overstated. In addition to enhancing the customer experience, a self-service portal — with a modern, data-driven UX design — will reduce the amount of administrative and customer service work necessary to run your business.

Patients can connect directly with their healthcare provider through the portal without having to go through a receptionist, medical bills can be paid online without having to deal with postage, users can access medical records from their phone without any assistance — and the list goes on. All of this amounts to streamlined workflows, lower payroll costs, less employee training, and greater productivity for your healthcare business.

Wearable devices and remote patient monitoring

Wearables are perhaps the most exciting innovation in healthcare today, and they’re completely transforming the way care providers facilitate patient experiences. Driven by cloud computing and IoT, heart rate monitors, perspiration sensors, physical activity trackers, and other devices allow providers to collect and analyze patient data in real-time.

This practice — known as remote patient monitoring (RPM) — became critical during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It helps doctors identify early signs of diseases, track the bodily effects of prescription drugs, analyze the results of diets and exercise routines, and so on.

From the patient’s perspective, this means fewer trips to the doctor’s office, as well as greater insight and control in monitoring their health. Smart medical devices and RPM also make life easier for parents, spouses, caretakers, or anyone responsible for the health of another individual.

With the influence of consumer products like FitBit, Apple Watch, and VivaLNK, people have come to expect a higher level of data transparency among medical services. They want to be able to access critical information — like the rising and falling of their blood pressure — in real-time, through an intuitive and responsive healthcare app.

If applicable, your healthcare organization should be in the process of integrating RPM technology into the patient experience, as well as its technological ecosystem and back-office processes. Not only will this improve the user journey, but it will also help you better understand your patients, and therefore provide better care.

Virtual and augmented reality experiences

You may be surprised to learn that virtual reality (VR) technology is already being used to improve therapeutic and surgical treatments. A patient will put on a VR headset, which transports their conscious experience away from the unpleasant procedure to a more relaxing environment. Healthcare industry experts predict that VR headsets will play an increasingly important role in patient care over the next few years.

Augmented reality (AR) is also starting to be used as a patient-facing tool. For instance, rather than showing X-ray images of organs before surgery, doctors can now show colorful 3D images to patients, showing them exactly what their organs look like, what will happen during the surgery, and what the outcome will be.

As healthcare professionals continue to adopt AR and VR technology to make the patient experience more immersive, these tools and procedures will become increasingly common. And soon, people will be hesitant to go with clinicians that don’t offer AR- and VR-enabled experiences.

Medical chatbots

Powered by AI and ML, medical chatbots allow healthcare companies to provide fast, reliable customer service to patients and website visitors — while expending minimal time, money, and resources. In most cases, chatbots are implemented on the care provider’s website to help users navigate the site, answer basic medical questions, schedule an appointment, and connect with a nurse or doctor. These chatbots are available 24/7, helping to establish better customer support for current and future patients.

Medical chatbot technology is becoming more sophisticated every day. And experts predict that by 2025, bots — integrated with IoT devices — will be used to help process patient data, assist with diagnoses, generate reports, analyze the effectiveness of drugs, and more.

Many healthcare websites and patient portals already have chatbots — as there are many different solutions available, and they’re relatively easy to implement. Over the next few years, both doctors and patients will continue to be conditioned to use chatbots when completing various objectives.

Voice-enabled user interfaces

There are many applications for voice user interfaces (VUI) and natural language processing in healthcare. This technology allows doctors and patients to search for information on websites, interact with wearables, and ask questions to chatbots — without ever using their hands.

In addition to facilitating a more human UX and reducing the spread of germs, VUI also makes digital healthcare products more accessible for the elderly and disabled. As it becomes more advanced, patients will continue to expect VUI as a standard among medical services and solutions.

Team up with Codal for cutting-edge healthcare UX design

By investing in healthcare UX and UI design, you can increase patient satisfaction, streamline internal operations, and boost revenue for your organization. And with an advanced technological ecosystem, your business will be able to effectively scale within the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, leveraging new trends and technologies as they emerge.

With Codal, you can focus on running your business while we design, develop, test, launch, and maintain elegant digital solutions that exceed modern user expectations. Our award-winning team has over a decade of experience building websites, mobile applications, patient portals, and internal business apps for health and wellness organizations.

To see some of our more recent work in the healthcare industry, check out these case studies:

  • The Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE): To help ensure a larger number of people were educated on efforts to cure epilepsy, Codal reconfigured CURE’s tech stack — migrating its marketing team to a more efficient, user-friendly content manager.
  • RegimenPro: This skincare brand partnered with Codal to build a streamlined, HIPAA-compliant consumer experience that allows new patients to easily adopt extensive regimens and order products for delivery.
  • The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME): ACCME approached Codal to design its Learner Reporting System (LRS), a centralized hub where certification boards and course providers can manage and report accreditations.

Interested in learning more about the importance of healthcare UX design, and how Codal can help modernize your organization? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

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