NoA Ignite logo

How to define digital challenges in the healthcare industry

November 2, 2022 / 7 min read

A laboratory worker analysing medical test results.

Photo by Accuray on Unsplash

We are living in a dynamic, ever-changing world that brings new challenges brings new challenges every day. Prioritising and dealing with these challenges are prerequisites to your success, especially when you operate in the healthcare industry and your actions affect physicians and patients. We want to help you with that part of your daily work. That’s why we’ve gathered six challenges and best practices to help you grow in the difficult digital market.

Deal with your challenges more effectively

Reach out

Defining challenges might seem quick and easy at first, but the fact is, there is a serious risk involved. If you start a new project with the wrong challenge, you can expect many complications, including:

  • Time delays
  • Money loss
  • Internal conflicts
  • Weakened relations with the client/business partner
  • Poor patient and HCP experience
  • Delayed time to market resulting in delayed ROI

Defining a challenge IS a challenge!

Defining a challenge is always the very first step in every new project. To start off effectively, you need to create a foundation consisting of:

  1. Research (it will enable you to identify the real issue behind the challenge)
  2. Solution (tailored to the project, target audience’s needs and the defined challenge)
  3. Toolset (to support all the project-related activities and operations)

Each of these aspects comes with challenges of its own. There are also some good practices you ought to follow and obstacles you need to avoid if you want to deliver a successful project or release a successful product. We’ve listed seven such challenges and best practices. Let’s have a look at them, starting with your target audience.

Don’t miss your target audience’s expectations

Ideas can come from different people and different sources inside and outside the organisation. Sometimes people know the problem, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the idea concentrates on the company’s needs instead of your target audience’s needs.

Why is that a problem?
If you jump start to a solution, it is likely you will miss your target audience’s needs and expectations. As a result, you can end up with a product that is not useful or tailored to the specific market.

How to deal with it
Never start with a solution. Always start with a problem. And even if you already have one, make sure to dig deeper and conduct even basic research among your target group. Remember – little feedback is better than no feedback. Patients, HCPs and other medical staff should be your first concern if you work in the healthcare sector.

Never neglect research but don’t go overboard with it

In the healthcare sector, research frequently seems overwhelming – there are hundreds of people involved, huge budgets are necessary, and everything takes a lot of time. Especially at the beginning, you’re facing such problems as:

  • Short deadline for delivery
  • Missing internal resources
  • Small budget
  • Insufficient know-how
  • Legal restrictions
  • Finding a right group for research

If you don’t have to, don’t plan for a huge research program. Start small, especially when you have limited time and budget. It’s called MVR – Minimum Viable Research. An initial group for in-depth interviews can be composed of six to ten people, and that’s enough. Talking to six people for an hour could give you a lot of information.

Of course, you still need to do your homework – these people have to be carefully selected, the interviews should be well-thought-out and organised, and you need to have a list of relevant questions. But keep this one thing in mind – qualitative research is more valuable than just quantitative one.

Why is that a problem?
If you’re not a huge healthcare company, putting too much effort into research can result in burned budget and many weeks lost. Research is important at every project stage, but it cannot dominate it.

How to deal with it
Apply a smart approach to research. The hardest part is to get started and find the first suitable interviewer. However, if we succeed, the right person can connect us with others who are worth talking to. After the first or second interview, finding the right people for your research will be much easier. We call it "the snowball method. After the first or second interview, finding the right people for your research will be much easier.

Don’t ignore opportunities

Good ideas and opportunities are frequently neglected or missed just because they are ignored or rejected too quickly. People are afraid that “it won’t work” or “it will cost too much”. That’s natural; people are inherently scared of problems and challenges. The secret lies in not going this way. Be thorough and stubborn; ensure every idea you reject is verified and analysed before it lands in the bin.

Why is that a problem?
Because this way, you can freely and easily discard a very good idea.

How to deal with it
Grow your insights and be thorough in designing a strategy or a solution. Don’t throw an idea in the bin just because it isn’t popular. If possible, start with a prototype or a painted door test and try to reach your target audience.

We did that with one of our projects for a healthcare client. We went to several HCPs’ offices, showed them a prototype of a new application and asked for their feedback. Obviously, people like doctors are very busy and have limited time between visits, and that insight put us on the right track – the conclusion was the interface should be as simple as possible, minimal.

Don’t miss a chance to improve your product

Sometimes, good ideas come up in the least expected moment. Don’t think it’s too late for changes, even if the product is already in progress. Car makers know what we’re talking about here – it’s not like they release a car, and then it stays the same for years. Cars are continually improved and modified. You should adopt the same way of thinking. It’s especially important when you have the same person conducting research and designing the product.

That’s crucial, especially nowadays, when market requirements, technologies, and products constantly change. The product you released three years ago is likely outdated today! It doesn’t mean, though, that you have to start from scratch. It’s quicker, easier and cheaper to tweak the product you already have.

Why is that a problem?
If you don’t improve your products, you miss a chance to make them more useful, more functional or better looking. Sometimes, one tweak can make all the difference in the world. If you stop adjusting and improving your products, you will be quickly overtaken by your competitors that understand product development is a never-ending process.

How to deal with it
Opt for quick prototyping, quick tests and quick improvements. Test early and be open to implementing changes, iterating and improving. This way, it’s never too late to implement some adjustments or changes to the product.

Also, remember always to conduct so-called validation research. Don’t keep your prototype a secret – putting it out there so it can be better is almost always a good idea.

Don’t give up on your website

We frequently hear that from many companies – “our website is old and not relevant”. The solution? Should you delete the website and develop a new one? Or maybe opt for a microsite or a mobile/web app? Not necessarily. Of course, websites are important but don’t forget they are just channels and means of communication. It’s the content that really matters!

We’re not saying here that developing a new website is an unnecessary expense or that you shouldn’t develop a new application for your company. But don’t do that just because you feel your “old” website is now useless. It probably isn’t.

Why is that a problem?
Developing a new website isn't always remedy for all your problems. With wrong assumptions, after implementing an expensive and time-consuming solution, it may turn out that the expected results are not achieved.

How to deal with it
Firstly, analyse your ecosystem, there are plenty of tools for that. Try optimising, testing and updating your website. And remember – the content is always the most important part.

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room

And what elephant is that? In the healthcare world, you must consider many questions whenever you want to do something new. Many healthcare projects were delayed or scrapped because the legal department was not involved soon enough. With tons of laws and regulations, you need to involve everyone in the project, including IT, the legal team and the accounting department. This way, you can avoid many pitfalls and tailor your work according to the needs and possible obstacles.

Why is that a problem?
If you think that you can deal with IT and legal problems later, you risk losing tons of money and time. What if it turns out later that your project cannot be finished because of legal reasons?

How to deal with it
Involve everyone who has a say as quickly as possible, especially concerning aspects that can delay or block your project altogether.

Summary

The healthcare sector is challenging, there’s no doubt about it. If you want to succeed in the market, you have to play by its rules and avoid potential problems and obstacles. Book a free consultation and see how we can help your company.

Today, you discovered challenges that you will likely face soon enough. You can see a recording of the webinar here:

If you want to know more, watch the video from our previous webinar: 5 steps to the digital transformation of the health industry.

Keep all that in mind and keep your work simple. That’s the best recipe for success in digital health.

People discussing. The photo focuses on the laptops and a cup of coffee.

Book a free consultation!

If you feel like you need more or you’d like to discuss something we didn’t mention in this article, we’re happy to help! NoA Ignite is a team of experienced marketing, UX and IT experts. Book a free consultation to see what we can do together.

Authors

Szymon Heliosz, Senior UX Designer & Customer Experience Strategist at NoA Ignite

Szymon Heliosz

Senior UX Designer & Customer Experience Strategist

Szymon is our man with a plan. His extensive 15-year experience in UX design, business strategy, and client development means he’s more than earned his stripes in leading and shaping user-centric strategies. Far from being a dictator, Szymon excels by connecting the dots between stakeholders. His ability to facilitate insightful interviews means he delivers what your business needs, not what you think it needs.

+48 882 433 229

szymon.helioszxyz@noaignite.com

LinkedIn

Hubert Turaj

Hubert Turaj

Managing partner and co-founder of EDISONDA.

He is a managing partner and co-founder of EDISONDA. Hubert has 16+ years of experience as a UX designer, design manager, and innovation consultant. Hubert has conducted hundreds of international projects for start-ups, medium-sized companies and global corporations. He honed his competencies in managing complex projects and research initiatives, implementing design systems and gathering insights from different audiences. Hubert has worked with pharma corporations, healthcare providers and clinics, as well as medical start-ups. A huge fan of prototyping and agile innovation process.

hubert.turajxyz@edisonda.pl

LinkedIn

Related articles

Back to all articles