12 Ways to Improve the Healthcare User Experience

Technology is a great way to engage patients in managing their health, but poor design--whether it's a bad interface or an app that doesn't meet patients' needs--often stands in the way. These 12 tips will help designers and developers improve the user experience for patients who want to improve their health.

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When measurement becomes part of the care process, physicians can predict how a patient will do, decrease the time it takes to know what works for that patient and, critically, know what the next patient will need in order to receive better care, Heywood says. The key is that the output of all this measurement is clear, relevant, doesn't make a patient anxious and will help him or her change.

Bring a Sword

Days after losing her husband to kidney cancer, Regina Holliday painted a 50-foot mural depicting her struggle. She named it 73 Cents, referring to the per-page cost of her husband's medical records.

Today Holliday is an artist and a patient advocate whose Walking Gallery gives a voice to patients harmed by the medical errors and inefficiencies that happen when patient data is not available. It's no small matter—as Heywood points out, medical errors are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

To explain why she spoke at Healthcare Experience Design, Holliday quoted Matthew 10:34: "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Put another way: You need to make people uncomfortable in order to change healthcare the way it needs to be changed. As the United States struggles with healthcare reform and IT implementation, the next 15 years will be very uncomfortable, she says—but without the sword, there can be no peace.

Brian Eastwood is a senior editor for CIO.com. You can reach him on Twitter @Brian_Eastwood or via email. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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