How to Apply Good Design to Healthcare Technology

Nayan Jain

Founder at Heartbeat Health, Inc.



Like most industries, data is an incredibly powerful tool in healthcare. However, compared to other industries, there has been less successful technological innovation in healthcare data management. This is in part because of the added regulations in the healthcare field due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which makes designing a complaint and useful system very difficult. First, data was collected in charts and now it is now being written to onsite databases behind lock and key, or worse yet, being stored in large enterprise systems that have prevented access to information altogether. These processes are problematic when it comes to optimizing healthcare.

Actions taken

Although it may be difficult to create a compliant and user friendly system, it is not impossible. At Leo, we rewrote the system by taking a full stack approach. By doing this we created a platform that is flexible to support the information access requirements that patients have and to assist front-line staff to provide the highest quality care and service.

Lessons learned

Throughout this process we learned many key insights about designing a successful healthcare technology. Below are the top ten lessons we learned. Good design in healthcare:

  • is accurate — when clinical information is recorded it should be valid and pass stringent checks before it is stored and passed to the end-user. As a safeguard, there should be a record of authorship for each value/section of a patient record in the event there are any questions with its validity.
  • is immediately available — Not all decisions made in healthcare are time-sensitive, but the real-time data availability will address a wide array of use cases. Real time data can avoid costly medical errors.
  • is personalized — With the age of artificial intelligence upon us, we can expect that the growing number of datasets will assist clinicians triage previously untreatable conditions using techniques in precision medicine.
  • is comprehensive — It is important that the patient has a complete view of their medical information. Opening up this information to others we can build new experiences and interpretations on top of that data to better serve patients and their families.
  • is secure and private —  Individuals can be empowered to share (or not share) their information. As a healthcare technology company, our job is to help users securely share information and make it clear what they are making available.
  • is clear for the end-user — Some patients need translation of the raw clinical values. The uninterpreted data in its original form should be made available, but any additional support we can add to make it consumer-friendly, the easier it is for patients to act on the data that they have.
  • is historical — every piece of clinical information is vital, overwriting it with the latest and greatest is not an option. By keeping a full history we can provide clinicians (and machines) with the information they need to have a longitudinal view of a patient's health.
  • is uncluttered —Health data should be organized by time and relevance optimizing for readability. Software should be designed with the user and their needs in mind. Our adaptive interfaces are only one solution to a systemic problem.
  • is collaborative — De-identified records and data donation will allow researchers and matching services for clinical trials to be more effective. We are starting by moving individual records securely between members of the patient's care team to help get everyone on the same page.
  • is portable — interoperability may be healthcare's biggest challenge, but it is already a reality in other industries. The exposure of health information is distributed and limited to the types of information that each provider is allowed access to by the patient. Source: https://healthcareinamerica.us/ten-principles-for-good-design-in-healthcare-70cda76c5374

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Nayan Jain

Founder at Heartbeat Health, Inc.

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