Life-saving visual language: The expanding role of design in healthcare
Seven days ago
As we come to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and look forward to better times ahead, it would be hard to underestimate the role that design has played in this extraordinary time in our history. As a creative agency, we are pleased to see how quickly governments and healthcare organisations around the world embraced age-old design principles to help to save lives.
Communicating complex information directly from health professionals to the general public presents a unique challenge for designers in normal times. During a global pandemic, this became a life-saving imperative, directly relating to the well-being of our communities.
A whole range of new concepts and complex information had to be conveyed effectively to people of all demographics to drive behavioural change to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. Basic procedures such as handwashing and new concepts such as social distancing had to be communicated en masse so they could be understood quickly and easily.
The role of design has been to simplify these concepts into ‘at a glance’ messages that transcend literacy, accessibility and socio-economic status. Infographics have now evolved from an internet staple to a go-to visual solution across all media for storytelling with data using simple icons, graphs and animations. This is also in synch with the rapid rise in the use of emojis, especially by Millennials and Gen Z on social media platforms, Snapchat and TikTok.
Almost overnight, QR codes also became universally adopted for a range of daily, COVID-safe transactions, with a 94% growth in interactions from 2018 to 2020. To tap into this trend, we trialled a customised, heart-shaped QR code for an out of home campaign in suburban and regional NSW for BaptistCare at home in November 2020 with incredible results – over 5,000 QR interactions in the first two weeks of a campaign targeted to an older demographic.
Patients are consumers too
As our daily experiences become more and more digitised, consumers have now begun to expect more from their healthcare experiences. User-controlled technology such as Deliveroo and Uber have changed the way we order food and book rides by putting purchase power in the hands of consumers. Healthcare is next.
Patients are consumers too and they increasingly wish to take control of their healthcare journey – around 43% of patients now prefer to book appointments online. They also expect their care experience to be intuitive, convenient and easy. The concept of patient engagement – systems designed to increase patient activity and promote positive patient behaviour – is now an emerging focus for healthcare providers. This now means that designing captivating digital user experiences is more important than ever.
"The experiences that a patient has with each brand touchpoint define how they will feel, and ultimately, how they will remember the brand, how they recall and talk about it, and how they feel about it ahead of the next engagement."
Brian Solis, Digital Anthropologist, Futurist
For example, patients who are actively involved in scheduling their healthcare appointments are more likely to attend, provide more accurate information and are more committed to their overall care journey, all of which benefits them and their care providers. Strategic user experience design (UX) is vital to drive patient engagement and enable positive care outcomes.
Our recent rebrand for information technology company, Comrad Medical Systems, was designed to showcase their commitment to changing the way people experience healthcare.
In spite of all the incredible advances in medical treatments over the last decade, healthcare is still a fragmented and often inefficient industry. Comrad develop digital solutions that can connect and streamline the flow of information in the healthcare system to benefit patients and practitioners alike.
"By providing greater control over their personal healthcare journey, you empower your patients and streamline the day-to-day operations of your medical business. And this ultimately improves care.” Comrad’s CEO, Mark Sabotti stated. “We connect the dots in the disparate healthcare system."
We designed Comrad’s new logo to reflect this commitment – it is contemporary and friendly and it symbolises strength in unity, inclusivity, infinite innovation and information flow. Their new visual identity, values and brand language now positions them at the forefront of digital information solutions in the healthcare space.
Many organisations in this space are long-standing institutions that have distinguished themselves by their many decades of service and their deep roots in the communities they serve. These organisations have usually enjoyed a premium place in the healthcare category and have large workforces with entrenched systems. Unfortunately, many of these institutions find themselves at a disadvantage as more agile, commercially-minded healthcare and aged care services are emerging with a more contemporary focus that appeals to rapidly changing consumer behaviour.
By strategically reviewing their brand identity and taking the time to capture their authentic brand voice, these established organisations – often with a rich history and culture – can distinguish themselves against their competitors.
By presenting design and messaging inspired by the principles of behavioural science, organisations can drive positive behavioural change for better health outcomes.
This can help them to maintain their unique position in the healthcare landscape so they can continue to provide the care they are known for.
The healthcare industry has experienced such rapid change over the last two years that it has changed the way healthcare information is both disseminated and understood. These changes are here to stay.
Our job as designers is to translate and communicate complex health concepts to drive behavioural change to improve healthcare outcomes.
We believe that design concepts that are not based on a carefully considered strategy will remain just that – concepts. In order for concepts to become reality and impact their targeted audiences, the combination of strategy and design is essential – it’s what we refer to as going beyond beautiful.Find out more about the Comrad rebrand >