Recent trends in medical UI design prioritize speed, privacy, innovation, personalization, and perhaps most importantly, an intuitive and safe mobile-first approach. The motivation behind many regulatory changes and updates in healthcare-related device development is the surge of healthcare-related mobile device apps, which need to be included in regulatory compliance.
One trend in medical UI design is towards stronger personalization. With more and more patients using medical devices within the home, it is imperative that these devices are not seen as intimidating. Through Behavioral Research we have learned that people over 50 years old may begin to view modern technology as unapproachable, and the older the user demographic the more daunting and confusing modern technology appears to them. Senior users do not like feeling as if they are useless in the world around them, and trying to interact with modern technology can leave them feeling incompetent. To avoid this feeling they will avoid using the technology. With this demographic, the emphasis on improving the intuitiveness of the user interface becomes even more important than ever.
The benefit of a more personalized user interface design is that engaging with medical devices will feel seamless and thus more approachable. The task for User Interface design moving forward is to integrate inspiring new avenues of interaction with technology into the users’ environments so that it almost feels like an extension of their bodies. One day it may even be possible to interact with technology through emotions as biometric sensors are embedded in wearable devices, allowing for the ability to measure emotional and physiological data. Formative and Summative usability testing will begin to include this physiological and emotional data collected from the test respondents with their verbal feedback, providing a more thorough understanding of how end users respond to different design concepts.
Another trend in medical device UI is the growing awareness of value-sensitive design and data protection regulations. The emphasis on medical privacy will push the development of user interfaces that keep users well-informed about the data they are giving up and how it could, and will, be used. This is an absolute necessity for patients to feel their medical devices are safe and can be trusted.
With the De Novo pathway for medical devices allowing the FDA to give patients access to safe and effective medical devices quickly and efficiently, it becomes even more important to understand and utilize new technologies in terms of patient interaction. For User Experience designers, the prioritizing of patient engagement in medical device UI requires recognizing the medical UI trends that will make the user experience more enjoyable and meaningful.