When it comes to medical machinery, the three things needed to create a completely new and enhanced patient experience is by making sure that the design is as human-centric as possible. This means that it needs to have the three following elements: Storytelling, Empathy, and Experimentation.
This is something that concerned GE Healthcare when they realized that nearly 80% of their pediatric patients would need a dose of anesthesia before getting into the MRI. According to Tom Kelley who is the general manager of IDEO, if a large portion of your customers are inherently afraid of the machine that you offer — to the point that they would want to be unconscious during the entire procedure, then something is definitely wrong with your design.
Because of this discovery, GE then redesigned their MRI machines with their GE Adventure Series. Their end goal is to make their machines look more like a Disneyland ride rather than plain medical equipment. With the machines looking like a rocket or a pirate ship, the number of pedia patients that needed anesthesia before using the MRI significantly dropped to 10%. This means that the strategy worked, said Kelley.
In essence, engineers build machinery such as medical devices, laptops, smartphones, etc. with their functions in mind. The burden is on the consumers to learn how to use these items properly. However, if you wish to create user-friendly medical technology, you will have to approach the development from the user side instead. This is exactly what the human factor adds and by the looks of it, it is very effective as GE drastically changed how the patients approached their product without them changing any of its functional designs.
This is very important as health tech is slowly evolving even further with the introduction of the smartphone. There are an increasing number of health apps for our mobile devices and they are growing at an increasing pace. Kelley states that for medical tech to become as human-centric as possible, they will need to follow the above mentioned three elements.
- The Technology Should Tell a Story
To enhance the patient experience, one must leverage the power of storytelling. It should be simple and concise. Your employees using the device need to be aware of how to use your machine and need to be able to confidently tell the patient what it is, how it works, how it will work for them, etc. In other words, the story behind the machine should be easy to understand, learn, and share.
- Experimentation is Key
According to Kelly, it is important to continuously revise and improve the idea behind your medical machine. You should also incorporate feedback from your customers especially during the crucial testing phase. This way, companies and healthcare organizations can better align their machines with how the doctors and patients want to use them. This in turn reduces frustration for both patient and healthcare provider as they will have the feature that they want.
- Empathize with the Human
If you want to make the device or app more human-centric, then you need to design it with the patient in mind. It might seem like an obvious thing but it is not something everyone consciously thinks about. GE didn’t change their machine, they changed how their patients interacted with it. By taking specific notes of the target market for your device and putting yourself in their shoes, you will be better able to design something that is both useful and easy to use.