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Design Lead Healthcare Delivery

by Michael Bell

If HealthTech innovations were based on deep engagement with the environment that would come to use them they would be not only be more easily adopted but more useful as well.

In over 20 years of leading digital teams in creating and implementing HealthTech in both private practice and the NHS, it’s clear that there is no one winning formula, no silver bullet, but there is a blueprint that can set up innovative HealthTech to succeed.

In my experience, it begins with deep engagement. Not just stakeholder calls and desk research, but through fully experiencing the environment that the HealthTech innovation needs to bring benefit to. And this isn’t just for user researchers and UX designers, it’s something I’d recommend the whole delivery team observe. In reality, this may mean anything from dressing in scrubs and witnessing a surgery to observational follow-work on hospital wards. It’s really only by experiencing the conditions that the eventual users of any HealthTech will face that the HealthTech product can truly begin to meet clinical needs and the innovation can thrive.

It doesn’t stop there. The best HealthTech innovations I’ve seen in my 25-year career have been those which have successfully translated the findings from discovery into designs that reflect the context and environment of each potential user of the technology. Designs and early prototypes were shared with clinical teams so that their feedback can be further incorporated, tested and validated.

Such design thinking is critical to enabling the delivery of next-level digital services in healthcare and it’s staggering how many times this is still either overlooked or that user research fails to translate into sweet design and usability, measured through feedback and analytics.

It’s a real specialism to be able to translate, to infer experience, into the design of a HealthTech product so that it ‘just works’, delivers benefits and makes clinicians wish to use it. And then of course there are all the other considerations that must go into designing a robust, secure and useful HealthTech product, considerations including clinical safety, cyber security, interoperability, data protection and accessibility. Just as important as great design as they bring confidence to users and healthcare authorities, and crucially protect patients and clinicians.

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