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5 steps to designing healthy clinical apps

Lorraine Chapman, director of healthcare user experience for the global software and design firm, will discuss at HIMSS16 how to leverage user-centric design.
By Deirdre Fulton
09:28 AM
doctor's arm coming out of a laptop with a stethoscope

The problem with many health apps often comes down to design, creating “a mismatch between what the app is trying to do and what the end users are trying to do,” said Lorraine Chapman, director of healthcare user experience for the global software and design firm Macadamian.

At HIMSS16, Chapman and Jeff Belden, MD, a practicing physician and professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of Missouri – Columbia, will share five tips for making user-centric design part of your organizational DNA to enable more effective clinical apps.

Lorraine Chapman, director of healthcare user experience for the global software and design firm Macadamian[Also: Cloud, mobile among top EHR trends to watch in 2016]

Here they are:

1. Understand. Don’t assume that you already know what users’ needs are. It’s better to learn as much as possible about specific goals, outcomes they’re trying to achieve, and all related details.

2. Define the problem space. This begins, of course, with understanding and also includes seemingly minor interaction details that can impede an app’s adoption or usefulness. “Am I saving this, am I closing it, am I cancelling, does ‘OK’ mean ‘Save,’” Chapman said. “Little things like that often end up not being little because it’s so pervasive across an application that it bubbles up to cause major usability issues for the end user,” Chapman pointed out.

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3. Ideation. The key here, Chapman said, is to really generate solutions that address specific problems rather than looking for Holy Grail capabilities that solve everything. In other words: creativity and specificity rule.

4. Iteration. This step involves going back to target end users and bouncing ideas off them. Questions the team must ask in this phase, Chapman offered, include: “Have I incorporated all of the user requirements? Has a solution introduced any issues I was unaware of? Have I missed anything?”

5. Building. Before beginning stage 5, designers and developers first must to check off the preceding four, Chapman said, and even then, “it doesn’t mean that you just go forward and build and not check in with the end user again.”

These five phases are a reminder that “design thinking and user-centered design are not something you look at after the product is complete.”

The session "UX Design: Five Steps For Designing "Healthy" Clinical Apps," will take place from 1-2 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, in the Human Nature Theater.

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