The healthcare technology of the future is getting closer. While digital health has been the biggest medtech change driver for the past decade, the coronavirus pandemic has shifted product design and manufacturing towards smaller, more portable devices that bring data and services directly to the patient.
Whether in hospital and long-term care facilities, or remotely at home, this year’s medtech user experience (UX) development industry will see an increased demand for richer, more intuitive experiences that give users access to more. In turn, more features and more connectivity places new requirements on manufacturers to meet the needs of smartphone-savvy users.
As a partner in the development of many embedded graphics for smart medical devices, here are the top medtech UX development trends we see dominating 2021.
Growth in wearables and personal medical devices
With double-digit growth predicted through to 2024, according to IDC, the wearables market offers new opportunities for manufacturers to build products that deliver self-monitoring, in-situ treatment, and electronic health record access solutions for patients. The past year has proven that more individuals want to take charge of their own healthcare and 2021 will be the time todeliver innovative body-worn or portable personal devices that are lightweight, connected, secure, and easy to use.
Demand for complex features and longer battery
Clinicians, caregivers, and patients are looking towards medtech to reap the benefits of increased connectivity and access to Big Data infrastructures. This pressures product teams to pack more functionality onto their devices while also minimizing manufacturing and maintenance costs.
Ventec Life Systems, for example, used Crank Storyboard to combine five separate devices into one portable respiratory system for frontline medical professionals fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The development choices and tools they adopted are a model for other manufacturers looking to adapt existing technology or launch products into new markets.
Designing interfaces that look and behave like smartphones
The quality of how people interact with their devices is a key differentiator for product success and the trend is towards higher expectations on medtech UX. Building in rich graphics and pleasing experiences is just as important as patient safety. In fact, these aspects must be taken together when building satisfying GUIs that also prevent improper use or malfunction.
Increasing investment in user experience design
The prior two trends indicate the growing need to push the boundaries of medtech UX, including the support of skills that can do it. While developers are expert at building and integrating software and hardware, UX designers bring user research and experience design techniques to the table, enabling product teams to dramatically improve the quality and competitive position of their devices.
New techniques to get to market quickly
It may seem like delivering modern, intuitive user interfaces that integrate more functionality than ever before is an impossible challenge. The fact is that it isn’t a technology puzzle that needs to be solved, rather a process and tooling one. The manufacturers that win 2021 will be those that embrace both UX design and development and adopt frameworks that enable these different disciplines to work together.
To meet these needs and more, Crank’s Storyboard embedded GUI framework allows designers and developers to build their medtech UX applications in parallel, helping embrace design iterations, enable creation of rich and intuitive experiences, and accelerate development. To meet the needs of the 2021 medtech market, Storyboard eliminates the challenge of managing changes in design that hamper existing development and is compatible with all operating systems and processors, including NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Renesas. Crank, BlackBerry QNX, and Toradex provide more information in this webinar on GUI design and safety in medical devices.
As with any industry, there are many UX challenges for the medtech industry to overcome. The benefits of tools and processes that empower product teams to take advantage of different skill sets and UX design techniques hold much promise. It’s just a matter of who gets to market first.