Our top 5 healthtech product design lessons learned

Jade Macfarlane

Senior UX/UI Designer

April 13, 2023
6 minute read

Across our design team, user experience (UX) means patient experience, pharmacist experience and healthcare provider experience.

Working in the healthtech industry, and specifically pharmacy, comes with unique challenges. Healthtech is often the crucial connecting point between overburdened clinical teams, under-pressure pharmacy teams and diverse patient-needs — patients who deserve a reliable and seamless service at every touchpoint along the way.  

Designing our products to address these pain points always brings a wealth of learning to everything we do. Here are our standout discoveries from the UX researchers and UX designers at Phlo Connect and Phlo Digital Pharmacy.

1. Saving time is essential

– Jade Macfarlane, Senior UX/UI Designer, Partner Experience

Every second taken from a clinician is a second that could have been spent on patient care. As a healthtech designer, the most crucial question is, "How do we make our product work smarter, so clinicians don't have to work harder?"

Limiting data entry to reduce errors and increase speed is crucial. Instead of focusing on ‘fewer clicks’, which can be misleading when measuring simplicity, using automation or templates for repetitive tasks can save time and reduce frustration.

Quick learnability is essential, especially since users often work with multiple NHS and private healthcare services. Balancing powerful actions with simplicity is important, as complex and confusing features can cause resistance to adopt the product. Healthcare software must be simple, time-efficient yet adaptable to clinicians' unique processes to avoid adoption resistance. This is why continuous user research with healthcare providers is critical.

2. Say no to jargon and acronyms

– Scott Cameron, Senior UX/UI Designer, Patient Experience

The UK healthtech industry is bursting with acronyms and technical terms such as EPS, SCR, and PPC. However, for Phlo patients what matters most is receiving their medication promptly and accurately without worrying about the underlying technology.

To ensure our patient-facing apps are user-friendly, we’ve learned to avoid jargon wherever possible. This approach makes our products more accessible and easier to use, as patients can quickly grasp the crucial information without getting lost in technical terms. By simplifying our language, we also present information more efficiently, reducing the time and effort needed to complete tasks.

When we need to introduce jargon, we strive to explain it in plain language, avoiding verbose explanations. This approach helps educate patients without overwhelming them with complex terminology, ensuring they can make informed decisions about their health without feeling confused or frustrated.

3. The ‘perceived value’ placebo

– Eilidh Mackay, UX/UI Designer, Pharmacy Experience

I was recently doing some research into 'over the counter' medication, which is un-prescribed items such as painkillers, period products or dental treatments - items you would find in a supermarket. One thing that surprised me in this sphere was learning about perceived value. This is essentially a customer's opinion or evaluation of any product or service, and is entirely subjective. Now you might be wondering “okay, but how does this relate to a pharmacy?”. Good question, let me explain.

Research shows that branded painkillers are perceived to actually be more effective at reducing pain. They’re the same “objective quality” pills, but we perceive one to be better, and so it is. This, to me, was surprising. Who knew that something such as more desirable branding and packaging, or improved marketing and communication, could actually make a product more effective? Every day's a learning day in the healthtech world.

4. When people don’t know how something works, they make it up

– Ashley Hearton, UX Researcher

At Phlo, we come up against this often because online healthcare remains a less common service in a traditional society and healthcare setting.

This happens when we are not setting expectations, or not setting them at the right place in the user journey. Users will then set their own beliefs and expectations around that service, due to the room for assumption emerging when the lack of clarity causes users to combat the confusion and anxiety in a service they don’t understand.

This can lead to service blueprinting, for example, where users will imprint another services process onto our own. This can cause frustration with our service where users then experience high cognitive loads - strained relationships can then form as a result.

5. Design for the whole team, not only clinicians

– Jade Macfarlane, Senior UX/UI Designer, Partner Experience

When it comes to the primary user of e-prescribing products, you naturally think of doctors and other prescribers. However, one of the biggest findings from our healthcare provider research is the equal importance of clinical support, admin and managers as users.

These users take as much time-consuming admin load as they can from clinicians — but this can mean an overabundance of admin on their own roles, causing a full circle of pressure.  

Designing for these users means designing to eliminate the admin load, not just share it.

These non-prescribing roles have close contact with patients, supporting them through often non-linear healthcare journeys. They need the right level of communication, and access to quick-to-find status updates. Support and manager roles also need data and powerful bulk actions for KPI tracking.  

Measure the success of your healthtech product by how much it enables all clinical and non-clinical roles in its user base.

Interested in joining the team? See our current openings.

Connect with us to discover why our easy-to-use technology is your essential clinical partner and how we can work together to innovate healthcare experiences for everyone. Let’s build change together.  Start the conversation.

Written by

Jade Macfarlane

Senior UX/UI Designer

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