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Customer Experience and Design

Would you co-design your website with patients?

This question has crossed my mind numerous times since I read about the Blue Button Co-Design Challenge last month. The Blue Button Co-Design Challenge is being used to give patients and patients by proxy a voice in how they access health data and how they want to then use it. Real patients for product feedback and iteration will be available to developer teams of providers, data holders, and entrepreneurs ready to usher in the next age of view, download, and transmit.crowdsourcing-cartoon

This got me thinking. What if patients were crowd-sourced more regularly to solve all of those challenging patient engagement issues? For example, many of the biggest challenges I see on provider websites occur because it is challenging for an employee of a health system, the ones actually making the final decisions, to release their mind from the confines of their day job. This usually means that the content of the public website is architected in the way that employees see the organization: by department or facility. Problem is, this gets in the way of patients trying to find the information they need to be more healthful. Patients shouldn’t have to navigate 5 layers deep to find content specific to their condition or health concern. Patients won’t work that hard. Instead, the hub of digital patient engagement should have, at its core, the patient user experience.

Not being new to the public website creation rodeo, I’ve found the process and final product to be greatly improved through the addition of patient voices throughout the entire website design process. I’ve never met two patient populations that are the same, so while there is general advice on tailoring a message to patient needs, insight should always be collected from the target market in question. This insight informs the nuts and bolts of information architecture and the engagement of graphic design.

As a result, a one and done approach to patient feedback is good. An iterative approach to patient feedback on site design is better. Co-designing a site with patients? I would love to see that on every provider website.

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Melody Smith Jones

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