We have seen that healthcare is starting to shift towards digitization, and many believe that the future of healthcare will be digital. But there are some who are hesitant to adopt technology when it comes to their health, and it is not without reason.
As we have already seen, there are many benefits to the digitization of healthcare, the main ones being (1) convenience, (2) low-cost, (3) improved patient experiences, (4) improved access to healthcare and (5) decreased risks of acquiring an HAI. These benefits are all significant, but how will it affect the people who aren’t as familiar with technology or aren’t as tech-savvy’s access to healthcare?
A recent article published by Forbes discusses the difficulties that people trying to access online health services may face. According to the article, many online healthcare platforms are needlessly complicated and confusing, which makes many people more hesitant and less inclined to use these services.
According to Dale Cook, CEO of Learn to Live, an online mental health company,
“When people are already struggling with mental fitness, it can create limitations in how much bandwidth they have for complications. Facing technical problems when they’re trying to get help is the last distraction that they need.”Dale Cook, Retrieved from Forbes.com (2019)
Learn to Live is one of the few online healthcare services that has been successful in creating an easy-to-use digital interface. They have done a lot of primary research, through the use of focus groups, user experiences and commentaries, which has allowed them to ensure that their clients have a pleasant experience.
So what can be done to make digital healthcare more accessible to all?
Burger (2019) stresses the importance of simplicity and empathy when designing an online medical service.
With the majority of developed nations experiencing an ageing population, those who are 70 and over will continue to be the group of people who consult doctors the most frequently. One concern is that the older population is not tech-savvy, and will not be able to use these online services. However, most of these people are able to use technology; online platforms just need to simplified for them to use.
In terms of empathy, the article discusses how online medical companies need to attempt to understand what their clientele is experiencing. For example, Jeff Johnson, a computer science professor from the University of San Francisco states,
“We see age-related changes beginning at age 50. That’s when fonts become too small, speech-enabled technologies are too fast and click targets are too little to hit reliably.”Jeff Johnson, Retrieved from Forbes.com
Online health service companies need to understand that the clients seeking their help are either not well or concerned about their personal health. Taking this into consideration, it is essential that companies make their online interfaces more accessible for their clients.
The future of digital healthcare
As digital healthcare continues to become more important, it will be essential that these online health companies ensure that their services are simple for users, and that they take into consideration what patients may be going through when seeking their services.