The Advent of Healthcare UX

Monday, March 26th was the 2nd annual Healthcare Experience Design Conference in Boston, hosted by Mad*Pow and Claricode.  Designers, technologists, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs gathered at the Westin Waterfront for talks on a wide variety of topics relating to design, health, and technology. Highlights included a keynote by US CTO Todd Park on the power of open data in health innovation, a talk on incorporating “failure”, or non-adherence, into design strategies for behavior change by Devorah Klein, Health Practice Lead at Continuum design consultancy, and an impassioned closing with athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush.

Electronic medical records and electronic health records were a focus of the meetings speakers and attendees, and it was apparent that the lack of consensus in how this data will be managed and regulated was the cause of some unease among the meeting’s participants.  This was likely due at least in part to last week’s statement issued by the leading US policymakers in electronic health records (Available here) reminding healthcare professionals and hospital administrators that they are eligible for incentive payments if they adopt, upgrade, or demonstrate “meaningful use” of EHR technology.  Practice Fusion breaks down criteria for “meaningful use” here.  Suffice it to say, it’s complicated.

Still the phrase on everyone’s tongue at this meeting was behavior change. And the meeting’s attendance and engagement around these issues are signals of the growing industry-wide trend in healthcare of consumer focus, as well as the integration of design thinking and strategies into problem solving for health.  Healthcare user experience will soon be a common phrase in modern healthcare parlance.  We can’t wait.

The image for this blog post is the March cover of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry magazine and the image for its cover story , The New Prescription: Focus on Patient Experience, which is a great place to start for those interesting in better understanding healthcare user experience.  Link to story