Healthcare Apps Designed With Meaning
OVERVIEW OF SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL HEALTH
Recently, Experentia, an independent international experience design consultancy, reviewed some of the most used and most highly rated healthcare apps.
- embraced many aspects of digital health, from apps for patients and clinicians, through to wearables and ingestible sensors
- identified the specific strengths and features of each digital intervention
- highlighted the importance of `design with meaning’ – designing around the needs of the patient.
Design with meaning
The review argues the case for designing apps around the needs of patients, while acknowledging that this can be a “complex and costly process”:
“In order to unveil patient or target users’ needs, various approaches can contribute to building meaningful solutions: patient and stakeholder ethnographic interviews, diary study, shadowing and usability testing.” – Experentia
Arthritis advocacy group app
Most of the apps cited in the review are produced by commercial developers. One app is supported by Creakyjoints, part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a non-profit advocacy organisation in the US.
Their arthritis power app aims to:
“Empower people with arthritis to fight against arthritis and related conditions (bone,
autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases) and to participate in research development.”
In the app review, the report identifies:
- the key strength of the app as `an opportunity to advance research’
- features including enabling patients to access education resources on arthritis, track symptoms and treatments, share results with caregivers and healthcare professionals.
Connectivity can address unmet needs
In their conclusion, Experentia say that it is when technology connects patients with other health stakeholders, whether with other patients, clinicians or carers, the case for digital health is strongest:
“One of the main strengths of the analyzed tools is the enhanced connection they promote among different actors. They allow value co-creation and easy exchanges of different kinds of assets that otherwise wouldn’t be possible or would be difficult to manage.” – Experentia
Two key questions
The review ends with two key questions, central to making sure that mhealth adds value by being fully integrated into systems and patients’ lives rather than bolted on:
- “How is tech (eg apps, wearables, digital devices, ingestible sensors, robotics etc) perceived?”
- “In which system of relationships does it act? In which way?” – Experentia