An Interview with Yuri: Design and the Patient Experience
Medbelle designer, Yuri, discusses his experience and the importance of design to enhance the patient experience and make digital healthcare accessible to all.
What are your biggest challenges, and how do you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is touching upon very delicate topics and topics that may not always bring positive feelings to people - it’s all about hospitals, health and people’s bodies. For many, they are not necessarily easy topics. People might fear or have concerns or have health anxieties.
And as a brand, we want to communicate the opposite. We want to communicate trust and safety, and we also want to avoid stereotyping. When you think of healthcare and the medical industry, you think of doctors and surgeons, but we’re a part of this.
But to find a way to communicate our values, what we want to inspire and to ensure that we are conveying that we are a medical company but without having a sterile hospital mood.
So our choice of images is particularly important here. Rather than using a constant feeling of hospitals, or showing the patient journey before and during - but rather after the procedure when the patient is satisfied with the result and inspiring a sense of hope. Showing people living their daily lives without the pain or discomfort they had previously had, with more confidence in their bodies.
How does design affect the patient experience?
The most important thing about design is not just about looking good but about being useable. We try to create an experience for the patients and the users of our Apps and Operating Systems - we try to create a product with smooth navigation. There are no hidden buttons or concealed options - the design helps us build trust and gives smooth and transparent navigation throughout our services.
How do you go about ensuring branding and accessibility are optimised?
In general, everything is about user experience design - we build templates to define how we handle the layout, what we will offer, and how the user will interact with the system. After this, we create a kind of wireframe, and we validate it with test navigation to find out problems for the user.
The final user interface is then based on usability, and we care about patients being able to use our product in a meaningful way, efficiently and logically.
For accessibility, we always consider our users' confidence level with the technology. It is important to advance the product without going too overboard with complex features. Important information should be very clear to find.
Also, with more complex interactions, we try to put it in a way to repeat behaviour on several pages, so there is a process of learning for the user. It could be the first time a user is using our product or a product like it, so we need repetition of features so they can understand the logic of our product. So that they understand the cause and effect are not by accident, but instead they understand intuition.
How do you express the key values of Medbelle through your design work?
Since our users might have varying ages and levels of confidence with technology, we have to support them in navigating our product. We also offer a very valuable option for patients, our Patient Care Team, so we offer the possibility for our users to interact directly with the Patient Care Advisers, so if someone doesn't want to use the website or app - someone prefers the traditional methods, then they can easily find a way to find a kind and supportive customer service.
We offer the possibility to have direct communication with the team and explain what the Patient Care Adviser can do so they know the full value of the concept too. To have both options shows the care for people's circumstances and ensures we can provide the best experience for patients - whatever their needs are.
How is designing for healthcare different from other sectors or services?
On a general level, the important key parts of the design are the same in every industry; empathising with the person who will be using the product, understanding and anticipating their problems and then helping to solve them smartly and intuitively. But of course, healthcare is more complicated because of the relation to pain, body image, stress or various health issues, which means there must be extra sensitivity. You need to be empathetic in the design. It needs to communicate human feelings.
And this is the biggest difference in other industries where people might expect a digitised experience or more technology. Healthcare doesn’t have a long history of being driven by digitisation, and a lot of people’s first experience with a digital hospital will be Medbelle, so that is a really interesting bridge to create - to show that healthcare structures and pathways can be done differently, trying to make people understand the care they get will not change, the method might be different, but the feelings, attention and care they receive will be the same - if not better.
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