UX Workshop at #HIC18

HIC 2018 is in Sydney this year and this year I had the pleasure of going to the UX workshop that was held pre-conference. I particularly enjoyed the perspectives given by Bennett Lauber - The Chief Experience Officer at The Usability People (USA) and the workshop on co-design facilitated by Dr Emma Blomkamp and Dr Chris Marmo of Melbourne design consultancy PaperGiant. 

The Importance of Co-design

Telehealth is one of those things in healthcare which is often met with groans and resistance from clinicians due to many failed attempts to launch such initiatives. As such, the failure rate has been very high. Karrie Long of The Royal Melbourne Hospital provided a presentation as to how RMH used co-design principles to create a user centric telehealth platform that addressed user's pain points. Karrie showed us a picture of this entrance at RMH which is one example of extreme poor UX, how can anyone work out what is going on in this picture? The thinking with showing us this front door was that the team needed to create a digital front door experience that was easy and simple to use.

When you need signs in health you know that the UX is not functional....

When you need signs in health you know that the UX is not functional....

Considering the experiences that patients have at the RMH with wayfinding being such a pain, the team created a digital front door for telehealth that was simple and straightforward. This is extracted from the RMH Website. 



A simple interface for users to click directly to engage with their clinician whilst the administrative staff configures the access points to enable patients to attend their digital consult in a straightforward manner, encourages a positive patient experience and changes the negative attitudes to telehealth.

PaperGiant facilitated a workshop on the principles of co-design, which was interesting and very relevant to the work that is completed in healthcare. The facilitators walked us through a case study, looking at the questions that we need to ask to extract the core information that the client may want. For example, the client may THINK that they want a certain solution for their problem but in actual fact, what they are looking for is that they want to solve a problem - the method as to how this is achieved is irrelevant because this can be elucidated through your user research. 

Full credit to This tool was provided to workshop participants.

Full credit to This tool was provided to workshop participants.

Usability x UX

The UX talk that challenged my thinking the most was Bennett Lauber's talk on usability. It was interesting to see the health system from an international perspective, in this case the UX and the various political agendas that have influenced the climate of digital health over there. The US has a much more mature model for hospitals that have EMRAM Level 6/7 (EMR Adoption Model) whereas in Australia, we are miles behind. Bennett emphasised the importance for conducting your user research through methods such as persona mapping (as I have blogged about previously) and surveys to really get to understanding the user's needs. And as a tip, Bennett noted that Contextual Enquiries, which is basically going to the client's context and understanding the things that they do, if there are workarounds or other pain points, to really see the impact of how the things we design impact the workflows for our clinicians. 

The thing that was most interesting for me was the 'myth of fewer clicks'. As a widespread belief, the fewer clicks it takes to achieve the user's objectives, the better it is. Bennett challenged this notion, by stating that perhaps in healthcare what we want isn't just fewer clicks, but instead at times we need to force the users to go through more clicks so that we can mitigate risk and attain better health data. This really made me think. Sometimes we need to burden our users to get better and more accurate healthcare data so that we can understand the larger trends that emerge. If we simplify the system too much, the richness of the data or the potential to attain that level of acuity of data might be missed.

Furthermore, users of the system can quickly turn from novice to intermediate users rather quickly. So as to why some healthcare software systems are deliberately complex, it is to enable the intermediate to expert users to have the ability to customise their user flows. What was striking to me was Bennetts comment that novice vs. an experienced user will interact with the software differently, perhaps simplifying software really isn't the agenda after all.... Definite food for thought. 

In a previous post, I mentioned Nielsen's Heuristics. Well, guess what? There are healthcare specific heuristics!!!! You can find the Nielsen-Shneiderman Heuristics HERE

How do we get our organisations to talk more about UX?

UX's value lies in the ROI for an organisation. The short term gains for investing in UX are not highly visible in many healthcare organisations. In a constrained funding environment with many competing priorities, there is no doubt that resources should be used to address patient issues. But considering poor UX in healthcare software, with a poorly designed experience, this creates the need for training the trainer and training the users, which is a high cost for organisations. Perhaps it is important to indicate to organisations that UX investment in the healthcare space has potential to reduce lost hours spent in training rooms and therefore, leave enough time for clinicians to care more for patients. And to that effect, with poor UX in healthcare software, risks may be prevalent for example, having interfaces that have too much cognitive load and thus, confusing the user and creating chaos.....