Designing For The End User In Healthcare


Authors Note: Regardless of job title or speciality, the modern human experience includes being a patient and being a consumer. For the purposes of this article, each time I reference a patient or a consumer, read that to mean human/person. 

Good design is invisible. Which is why you don’t take notice. And in most areas of life, good design prevails. Cups fit perfectly into your hand. Chairs conform perfectly to your behind. Stairs are the right height. Steve Jobs understood the power of design before many of us, which is why Apple is so successful. It’s successful because it works, because the user experience is smooth, because it never bothers you with a malware update or anything else cumbersome. (Bless you, Apple.) But yet, we’ve all experienced bad design. Bad design is disruptive in an extreme way. And healthcare is one of the worst offenders. Not always, but a lot of the time. Whether it’s a website, paperwork, access to your records, or the awful fluorescent lighting of a hospital room, we notice when it’s bad. We get frustrated when it’s bad. Luckily, bad design is also the catalyzing force behind a strong community of technologists, policy makers, advocates, and designers busting their butts to make it better.

We have a long way to go, but we also have some very classy examples of products, services, and people who are getting it right. As a doctor, you may no longer need to take tedious handwritten notes; as a public health professional your may finally have population health data available to you; as a patient, your MRI results may have been shared between out-of-network specialists; the end user varies depending on the scenario, but good design reverberates throughout the entire care delivery continuum.

Grace Moen