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Designing UX for Patients: A Human-Centric Approach to Healthcare App Design

Even before the world went through a dramatic paradigm shift—in the form of a global pandemic—innovations in technology were already influencing healthcare app design, the latest of which have been brought on by advancements like cloud computing, blockchain, mobile technology, the Internet of Things, advanced analytics, AR/VR and more. Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of digital technologies in this rather immalleable industry has been made ever more apparent. Said to be growing at a rate of 38.6% per year, the mHealth devices market is predicted to be worth $33 billion by 2025. 

However, even the most bleeding-edge technology is rendered ineffective, if not made seamlessly accessible to the end-user. A human-centric healthcare mobile app design, in terms of user experience, is thus indispensable to the effective digital transformation of the healthcare industry. 

Digital Trends Disrupting the Pharmaceutical Industry

In order to formulate a winning digital strategy, industry leaders must identify the trends reshaping the domain, as these very technologies would drive the most value in the near future.

Here are some of the most promising trends that have taken the healthcare industry by storm.

Digital Healthcare:

Embracing new-age digital tools and integrating them into the business, the healthcare industry is paving the way for the adoption of digital healthcare systems. Concentrating on transforming the overall experience around medicines, companies are providing multiple offerings in a single digital package. Rather than just developing and selling drugs, pharma companies are emphasizing on health apps to improve the customer’s experience. With readily accessible information on medicines and patient conditions, coupled with virtual interactions, remote monitoring, and self-administration facilities, both prescribers and patients feel more connected. What’s more, by using omnichannel engagement, exemplary patient experiences can be provided through emails, social media and SMS, instead of meeting face-to-face.  

Wearable Tech and Artificial Intelligence:

The modern patient’s fundamental need for self-monitoring is most evident in the rise of wearable healthcare technology. Loaded with AI assistants, wearable healthcare devices make for decent diagnoses before doctors and healthcare providers have a chance to further review and analyze patient conditions. The potential for AI in the healthcare industry is virtually limitless. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have also demonstrated their utility within the digital healthcare segment; thanks to the immense progress made in natural language processing. AI and Big data are further aiding the processes involved in rapid drug-discovery, immensely accelerating research and development, clinical trials and more.

Personalized Treatment:

The age-old problem of drugs reacting differently in different people has made way for precision medicine that seeks to provide personalized treatment for individual patients. Pharmaceutical companies can now identify variants of diseases by extracting phenotypic data from patients’ digital health records or EHR (Electronic Health Record). Even the development of drugs can be much more targeted towards specific patient and gene types. Advanced data analytics also make it possible for pharma to come up with predictive models of patients’ biological processes, enabling them to offer preventive treatment. What makes all of this tick is the promise of 24/7 digital healthcare services, readily available on the patient’s palm.

Potential Roadblocks for the Healthcare/Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry has always been known to be far-removed from patients. To pharma, its customers have primarily been the prescriber and the payer, while the patient merely a silent participant. Evolving needs of patients indicate that healthcare is now perceived as a much more personal and sensitive issue. Patients want transparency in the system and a personal touch to their healthcare. To keep up with the times, the pharmaceutical industry must jump on the bandwagon, and pay utmost attention to its true customers, the patients themselves. Sieving through the immense amount of available patient data—personas, behavior, changing conditions—companies must dig deeper to understand the patient’s journey and their pain-points. Not only will this help design engaging experiences for the patients, but also fuel the expansion into products and services aimed at preventive and holistic care. It’s not an overstatement to say that healthcare/pharmaceutical companies can no longer afford to ignore the crucial role Healthcare UX design plays in the development of products and services that are truly market ready.

What Enhanced UX Design Can Do for Healthcare 

As healthcare becomes more and more digitally dependent, leveraging a human-centric Healthcare UX design approach will prove to be indispensable to many of its crucial functions. Enhanced UX in Healthcare app design is key to the forefront of the industry’s operations—patient care. UX-focused Healthcare mobile app design can bridge the gap between prescribers, providers and patients, while making the patient feel involved in their own treatment. Remote and self-monitoring, virtual engagement, treatment customization—all of these heavily rely on end-users’ intuitive and seamless use of digital tools. 

Furthermore, Healthcare UX design has an important role to play in the digital technologies that aid in R&D, drug trials, and supply-chain processes, not to mention regular company operations like sales enablement, performance & management, and so on. All in all, wherever people in the healthcare industry need to interact with digital devices to perform their jobs or ease their lives, a well-designed user experience can make all the difference.

Blueprint for Patient-centred Healthcare App UI/UX design

Truly understanding patients’ concerns beforehand will help you approach healthcare app design in a way that looks to solve patients’ pain-points. For a great doctor app design, you must brainstorm better ways of managing doctors’ schedules and reducing waiting periods for patients as well. However, there are some common UI elements that you must get right, regardless of the function your healthcare app. 


The right choice of colours while designing healthcare apps has been proven to send special signals to patients, putting them in the right frame of mind.

For instance, playing with the colours white and blue and adding them in medical applications represent cleanliness and sterility, along with giving a sense of peace and tranquility to patients. 

Though the main colour should match the company’s mission and purpose, using colours that are perfectly contrasted against the background make it easier for visually impaired patients to navigate through apps seamlessly.


When it comes to adding text in your app, being sensitive about the text size is indispensable as well, apart from just using the right fonts. 

To increase the readability of the text among the group of patients or users, the text size in several clickable elements needs to be optimal, ensuring clear visibility of the text to aged and/or visually impaired patients.  


To increase users or patients’ engagement in healthcare apps, navigation plays a crucial rule—making it easier for the patients to find crucial information within a few seconds. 

Using large buttons, displaying tooltips, and designing all accessibility forms, such as auto-filled fields and oversized fields are keys to enhancing the navigation within an app.


Maintaining a proper balance between UI elements and functional features is imperative for increasing the app’s loading speed, ensuring quick and smooth functionality of your healthcare app.

While the target of these medical apps should be strictly on addressing patient problems, as a healthcare app developer, you should emphasize on delivering the crucial messages to the users first, keeping the usage of graphical elements, amount of text, and animations in check.  

The Way Forward

While the healthcare industry is clearly in urgent need of adopting good UX practices, healthcare companies must remain careful about their implementation. Being highly regulated and risk adverse, the industry must look towards UX professionals with profound understanding of the business and the science. Like most innovations in this industry, the design and development of user experience must be based on proper research and statistical data.

If you are planning to build a healthcare mobile app, it’s always a good idea to partner with an experienced medical app development company.

With an illustrious portfolio of mobile app development in the healthcare industry for decades, Josh Software has a proven domain expertise in developing premium mobile apps for healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals around the world.

Our wide experience has enabled us to furnish winning solutions like mHealth platforms, Healthcare apps, Clinical Management apps, Pharmacy apps, app maintenance and more.

Take your Healthcare apps’ UX design to the next level, with Josh Software.

Get in touch to know more!

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