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How user experience is revolutionizing the healthcare market

Belisa Godoy

The concept of health is variable. Its interpretation depends on the repertoire and the context of each individual. If the interpretation changes, the entire care chain tends to be reformulated to keep up with these changes. That is why the healthcare market must be strongly linked to the notion of the user experience (UX).

UX in health

This is a recent approach, although talking about the patient’s health experience is not a new discussion. In the late 1960s, patient-centered care (PCC) emerged as a model to guide health care delivery more effectively.

In the 1960s, the health system began to talk about patient-centered care, however, it still concentrated efforts on treating the disease.

Important literature was produced at the beginning, but with little sensitive impacts. The health system spoke of patient-centered care, however, it still concentrated efforts on treating the disease, and it remained so. Now, it faces mismatches and the need to update. And what has changed since then to justify this new approach?

Changes in the healthcare market

Emergence of new technologies, access to more information, new expectations stimulated by customized services in sectors such as entertainment and mobility. Users’ expectations changed, which drove changes in the sector.

The patient has increasingly placed himself as a consumer, and health as a service. There is less and less room for health that is synonymous with bureaucracy and disinformation. It is no longer seen only as treatment in response to a symptom, but as prevention and ongoing care.

In health, as in other disrupting industries, the concern with consumer engagement has proved to be an essential factor for the business. It is the configuration of a market with new characteristics, in fast growth and with many opportunities – and barriers, too.

And why is it worth innovating in such a complex, highly regulated and conservative ecosystem in adopting change?

In it, there are historical problems that are difficult to solve, but also a high potential for profitability and scalability. Numerous initiatives are underway and prove this scenario. New entrepreneurs, diverse entities and companies are entering this market – including companies originally from other sectors, such as Best Buy and Lyft [1].

The healthcare market is at an inflection point.

The healthcare market is at an inflection point. There, traditional models coexist, historically replicated and with deficiencies already identified, and new models, increasingly present, proposing other ways of thinking about health.

Technological innovation and UX

In the midst of this transition, there is still resistance, guided by the consolidated protocols and the mentality of a sector that “dominated” its science well. On the other hand, there is an avid search for digitizing procedures and applying emerging technologies, as an innovation per se.

In fact, there is an expanded horizon of health applications based on technology. Resources such as telemedicine, mobile health, electronic medical records, artificial intelligence, analytics, internet of things (IoT), virtual reality, wearables and nanomedicine can be mobilized to a significant extent. The new technologies have immense potential to transform health.

It remains to be remembered that such resources are possible instruments to reach the main value of the reformulation of this market. The most important is the maintenance of the individual’s well-being, in order to optimize this impact in the collective sphere, reducing resources and generating sustainable and scalable models. In the era of the so-called Health 4.0 [2], this means applying the efficiency of technological resources to bring personalization, communication, security and humanization to health.

At Varstation, we apply refined Bioinformatics and Data Science resources to make Genomics a reality in medical practice, in the sense of precision medicine. The technologies are mobilized with a clear purpose: to make the analysis of genetic tests accessible and to produce clinical knowledge about the human genome.

Where to start (or continue)

The user experience is revolutionizing the healthcare market. The transformative impact of the solutions that have been created, as well as their permanence in this market, will depend on the incessant search for the construction of increasingly better experiences that actually solve real problems.

Where to start to include user experience in healthcare project decisions?

  • Keep it simple: keep the focus on the real issue and explore the fit between problem and solution, which may involve technological resources or not (see the case of Kaiser Permanente [3]);
  • Thinking beyond diagnosis and treatment: the journey of the consumer who seeks a health service is much broader, as it starts before the symptom and continues after the treatment; it is quite likely that there are unexplored points of contact;
  • The health as a customizable service: seeing the patient as an active consumer of the most appropriate experience for their needs and considering that the expectations of customization are increasingly present (to illustrate, an interesting summary of this reflection [4]);

Creating and maintaining products and services in the healthcare market are quite challenging activities. The responsibility is great, but so is the achievement!

References:

[1] Zenooz, Ashwini; Fox, John. How New Health Care Platforms Will Improve Patient Care. Harvard Business Review. October 11, 2019.

[2] Mayumi, Yasmim. Saúde 4.0: entenda como a tecnologia traz mais eficiência. iClinic Blog.

[3] McCreary, Lew. Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation on the Front Lines. Harvard Business Review. September, 2010.

[4] Epperson. Josh. Why Healthcare Needs Customization. Prophet. April 13, 2015

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