Perhaps the most critically important industry to adopt a user-centered approach to design is that of healthcare. Personalized engagement is of the utmost importance to an environment where the relationship with between patient and provider can at times seem rigid and cold. The human factor in healthcare marketing has become essential in optimizing communications and improving processes. Not only does usability come into play with regard to content strategies, but brand storytelling must resonate with the user, reflecting authenticity and transparency. The most challenging aspect is to deliver a consistent and intuitive experience with the constant stream of updates and complex information that comes with the healthcare territory.

This steady influx of essential patient messaging in healthcare communications demands a keenly collaborative focus on an ongoing basis to continually optimize the experience and reach the best outcomes. Patient engagement is now an essential element of the pharma and healthcare marketing mix – information, both visual and contextual should be designed to clearly communicate high level information to both patient and provider with cues to deeper results, data and statistics. This delivery should be simple and easy to navigate – as there is little time to comb through a complex system.

The design becomes an extension of the tangible relationship between patient and provider. Consistent messaging helps to reinforce the importance of diagnosis, encourage treatment and the identification of complications. Across media – digital and print, the user-centered strategies should be implemented. From data integration, conferences, events, advertisements, packaging, all the way to patient assets – the messaging is scalable to meet the needs of each platform and carry through the experience life-cycle.

Though no replacement for the face to face connection with a provider, user-centered marketing and design is becoming a powerful strategy for creating engagement in the healthcare environment, creating a dialogue with the whole person, not just the patient, and similarly with health care providers.

Making the connection in humanizing healthcare communications is no simple feat. Not only does it require the application of analytics, but the careful crafting of aesthetic elements. It truly is a union of art and science. Following the path of user-centered design’s core principles in identifying the audience, creating the right information architecture and integrating user experience design will ultimately deliver the product that is connective and relatable. A brand or organization must work with a creative team to fully explore the target user set and goals. The intersection of the brand experience and empathy is where an authentic dialogue into action, can begin. Empathic design and marketing creates strong emotional connection, and winning the trust, hearts and minds of your audience.