User Experience and Its Effect on the Healthcare System

When it comes to user experience, people usually think of websites and how users interact with them. However, the user experience principle applies not only to this category, but also to several others, including the healthcare system. With the ever-increasing advance of technology, a reliable system should pose the accent firstly and fore mostly on the way users interact with it. Thus, every business-minded hospital manager should ask himself a series of questions: Although the follwing questions might not seem easily answerable at first, a more thorough analysis manages to deliver us the answers. Here’s how technology can enhance patients’ user experience and facilitate doctors’ everyday labor: How is technology changing the way healthcare professionals are interacting with their patients? After asking this crucial question to Gerald Menon, he states,. “Reducing delays in communicating results changes the way healthcare pros are interacting with their patients. Blood tests, X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans, and many more can be easily forwarded to physicians, thus enabling a quicker arrival of the diagnoses results. Due to the vast interlinking of the informational network systems, and the doption of standards in communication between various healthcare information systems (e.g. HL7 as the lingua franca combining several types of hardware and software from different vendors), users can benefit from a quicker and more convenient overall experience.” Further, Jeff Urdan from Veamea Technologies states, “It is important to define user experience a little more broadly than we typically would in the technology world. For instance, foundation technologies like touchscreen-enabled videoconferencing are giving patients the opportunity to interact with their doctors without the stress of location.” How is the patients’ user experience in healthcare instances improved by the new technologies? To answer this question, Mernon posits that “Allowing patients to benefit from access to skills beyond those of their immediate-care physicians, via the use of tele-medicine. This is especially true for the new hospitals who are yet to acquire their technological equipment. Removing the tedious monitoring jobs from human healthcare professionals is also crucual. A large percentage of the human’s tasks (but not all) are now in the realm of automation and alerts, which frees the human worker to do what the machines can’t do. This implies synthesizing various disparate sources of info and making judgment calls without the pressure of having to execute repetitive and tiring tasks. Such process leads to a less-stressed health worker and a better experience for the patient.” He further stats, “A perfect example in this regard is the automatic blood-gas monitoring systems found on the various ICU units of hospitals: heart patients, the newly-born, and others in high-dependency units are being monitored 24/7, thereby reducing the risk of human failure to spot irregularities and take action.” A different case is presented by Urdan, who claims, “Among our clients, the best examples are psychologists who provide behavioral therapy sessions in a local clinic from hundreds of miles away, dramatically improving the access, and affordability, of medical care. Our technology has been packed into a click-to-call, touch screen model, and put on mobile carts where necessary. One client is even looking at using iPads for consulting psychologists instantly.” What are three examples of technologies that are catered around good user experience in the healthcare industry? Gerald Menon asserts that “Technology has also resulted in a better accountability in every sector of interaction with patients, from carrying out diagnostic tests to the dispensation of medication; the use of RFID tags on medication, and earlier on barcodes, allows up-to-the-minute pinpointing for when a patient has received prescribed injections or medications, who has administered such medications, and even the whole path taken before it was administered. For example, temperature-tracking RFID tags can tell if a unit of platelets, plasma or red cells has been allowed to stay for a length of time above the prescribed temperature range. Such process would render it useless, if not dangerous, if transfused to a patient. Technology can help us to avoid this” Additionally, “RFID tags have also been used in the O.T. to reduce the not-insignificant incidences of “Oops! We did the wrong knee!” errors, whereby scheduled surgery on the RFID tag is verified against the patient’s own RFID wrist tag and the O.T. staff has to respond if discrepancies are noted. (The patient could have already been sedated and could no longer be able to respond to questions.)” Take note of Urdan’s case, where he asserts that “a hospital system is staffing rural clinics with mid-levels who can bring a doctor from their partner hospital online only when necessary to resolve the more complicated cases, and setting up registration kiosks where a patient can check themselves in through a touch screen which connects them via video to a central pool of registration agents.”