I experience that the healthcare sector has started to really understand and see the value of user-centred design methods. More and more projects involve designers and use design methodology as an approach to ensure that the solutions developed meet actual user needs. Also, more and more projects are no longer technology driven - but developed with the focus on the people that will use the technology. That's fantastic! Nevertheless, the sector is not always successful when it comes to implementing the solutions. Why is the industry failing to be user centred at the moment the solution is to be implemented?
What is stopping take-off?
The answer is complicated, but some important points are:
There are significant risks associated with developing new solutions in the health sector; many people are affected by choices made, and the decision-making processes are challenging and require careful thought and accountability.
Processes and systems are interrelated and are affected by each other.
Structures are departmentalized and hierarchical, and patient safety is always prioritized.
Last but not least - implementing new solutions in the health sector requires change, but people are not always ready to accept change, and the implementation process is not taken care of.
Implementing new solutions in the health sector requires change, but people are not always ready to accept change, and the implementation process is not taken care of.Sigrun Vik
The end user
New solutions and new technology will radically change the everyday lives of many users. The technology will be used by for example doctors, employees in the residential care service or in private homes by patients themselves. It leads to new ways of organising, working and living everyday lives and it is important to remember that it is not primarily about technology, but about the people who will use the new technology. Some feel safe using the new technology, and embrace it, while others view it with skepticism. Regardless of where and in what context, all users have one thing in common: Their needs and their reality must be taken care of not only on paper, but throughout the implementation.
Regardless of where and in what context, all users have one thing in common: Their needs and their reality must be taken care of not only on paper, but throughout the implementation.Sigrun Vik
Designing the implementation process
As designers, we have methods and tools to ensure that the developed solutions correspond to real-world user needs. We get insights, which we translate into relevant ideas and solutions. Furthermore, we test the ideas continuously to ensure that the solutions create the right effect. We involve the users of the solutions to ensure common understanding, and we focus on the specific solutions as part of a whole. I believe that these tools and methods are the key to how to create a process that ensures a successful implementation.
User-centred implementation processes
In addition to developing user-centred solutions, we as designers have a responsibility to ensure that the solutions we bring are being implemented in a good way. Adopting new solutions affects the daily lives of those who use them, and we must educate both those who deliver the services and those who will use them. We need to prepare the organisation and the users for the change. Hence, the implementation process must also be carefully designed – with the users at the centre.
Adopting new solutions affects the daily lives of those who use them, and we must educate both those who deliver the services and those who will use them. We need to prepare the organisation and the users for the change.Sigrun Vik
Do you have any experiences of successful implementation processes that you want to tell us about? Please share with us!
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