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Post by Experientia UX researcher Anna Wojnarowska:

The first MedLove conference, a UX and healthcare summit sponsored by Razorfish, took place this Friday in Berlin. MedLove gathered professionals from around the world discussing the challenges waiting for the researchers and designers approaching the healthcare environment.

Aleksander Stojanovic, representing Razorfish described how, when thinking about design solutions for the healthcare environment, it is not enough to get a perspective of a user or a patient, but of a human. The main difficulty for the researcher is to balance the individual and the social perspectives (“design against yourself”, says Stojanovic) to recognize and to unravel the network of agents entangled in the studied environment.

These arguments were nicely developed by Martje van der Linde (User Intelligence) who exemplified the ways that can help the researcher to actually resolve a studied problem without jumping straight to shallow conclusions. Only by taking into consideration and involving various stakeholders in the research process, the consultant can create concepts that satisfy not only patients but agents such as doctors and insurance providers as well. Patient-centered can oftentimes turn out too narrow.

Mark A.M. Kramer who, having gone through a cancer treatment himself, highlighted some of the important characteristics of the hospital environment that influence the patient experience while being hospitalized. The value of the participatory design process could have been easily grasped through his first hand, perceptive observations that related mainly to medical staff communication painpoints, affecting the efficiency of doctors’ work.

Rod Farmer (Visual Jazz Isobar, Melbourne) showed how throughout the years, design strategies have been moving away from the processes orienting participants on clearly defined tasks, towards collecting thick, narrative descriptions that can allow translating user perspective into an accurate business vision which, in the end, can result in products and services providing ‘phatic communication’ solutions that focus on and enhance relations between people. Farmer interestingly puts in question the meaning of “mobility”, a notion which, referred to portable devices used in various contexts, can create various connotations.

“Design more for value demand, less for failure demand.” (Peter Jones, OCAD University)

“How do we get involved in the advances of digital toward mHealth and the quantified self? Could it lead to new business models?” (Amber Brown, Digitas Health)