The healthcare industry is currently experiencing a “tsunami” of technology that is revolutionizing the entire health ecosystem. That was one of the main messages of the Mobile Healthcare Summit 2013 Conference, held in Toronto on 30 and 31 January 2013. This is the second post in a series dedicated to mobile healthcare.
For a more humane medical practice: Patient-Centered Care
The concept of Patient-Centered Care was at the heart of the discussions at the Mobile Health Summit 2013. You will notice, as we do, that this expression is reminiscent of user-centered design (UCD), which is so central to our discipline. Beyond sounding similar, there are indeed strong similarities between the two approaches.
How are these two approaches related? Firstly, both begin with an emphasis on the user, who in the context of medicine is of course the patient. As Frances Dare of Accenture recalled during his presentation, truly patient-focused care must take into account cultural traditions, personal preferences, values, family situations and lifestyles of patients. In our discipline, we also need to know and consider the characteristics of the user to design an application or website or that suits him. It is for this reason that we use personas
to clearly and concisely visualize the users. The personas allow us to develop and maintain empathy for the users through the design of a product or service.
The Patient-Centered Care approach also means that the patient must be more involved in his or her treatment and the decision-making related to it. Again, we can draw an obvious parallel with the iterative validation process established in our discipline. Whether through interviews, collaborative design workshops, cognitive walkthroughs or usability testing, these methods all aim to ensure that the user has a say in what will be delivered at the end.
There is particular branch of the user experience design, service design
, which focuses on the quality of interaction of a user with an organization through different points of contact (information kiosk, mobile application, service telephone, website, etc.). The aim is to ensure a consistent experience and fluidity at all stages of the procurement process or service delivery. The Patient-Centered Care approach also advocates a fluid, respectful experience with optimal patient transitions between different providers and departments.
While we were surprised by the similarity of the two approaches, it is expected that they are both the result of a desire to optimize the user experience. What is even more interesting is to see how mobile technology can support the Patient-Centered Care process. According to Frances Dare, one of the benefits of mobile health services is that they can accommodate the patient in accordance with their preferences and lifestyle, while facilitating their involvement in the process. Indeed if the patient can use a smart mobile device for remote monitoring with the doctor following an operation (see my previous blog
), this monitoring will be more easily integrated into daily routines. Regular monitoring of this kind in the clinic would be very challenging both cost-wise and logistically.
In the next post we will see how the introduction of a culture of innovation has led the Boston Children’s Hospital to create a more enjoyable care experience for young patients and their families through mobile technology.