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August 29, 2015
By: James Deakin

The need for service design to become an integral part of healthcare service delivery has been clearly identified by my colleague David Champeaux. But it’s hard for health professionals to keep track of all the digital trends relevant to that assertion, so Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive) has identified Nine Service Design and Innovation Trends that will characterise digital winners in 2015. Briefly, they will be those health companies that are able to create a collaborative clinical pathway:

  • Trend 1: Omnicolleagues: Healthcare must be designed, not engineered. Human beings are at the heart of delivering health and care, and organisations that help those people do their jobs by designing technology around the people and their jobs will see significant benefits. Accenture’s insights reveal that the digital winners will be those organisations that work out how to augment the efforts of their people rather than increasing their cognitive load.

  • Trend 2: Mind The Gap: As we move between devices and contexts we become aware of gaps. It often falls to a person to bridge the gap between systems, and turn data into meaning. As digital experiences across devices become more fragmented, health providers must mind the gap when customers lose bandwidth, when they move between devices, when they’re handed over between different services, and when digital data has changed and needs to be updated. Analytics can help reveal gaps that aren’t so easily spotted.

  • Trend 3: Aggregation Moves to Services: Specialised applications and services can make the amount of choice confusing for healthcare consumers. In response, organisations will reduce the pain of navigating a fragmented experience, and they will start branching into other parts of their consumers’ lives—providing value in unexpected places, in surprising ways.

  • Trend 4: Digital Dieting: People are beginning to feel overwhelmed and stressed by continuously being online. Brands are appealing to the increasing desire to unplug by delivering experiences that are offline or physical—but still connected. Realising digital technology’s benefits for healthcare, while avoiding digital overload, is the key to success.

  • Trend 5: Emotional Interfaces: Human-machine interactions are becoming more sophisticated. Advances in digital design can help healthcare providers to evolve their digital personalities, and thus communicate through more emotional interface capabilities.

  • Trend 6: Digital Disruption Goes Physical: In the future, few assets will be immune to digital disruption. More and more physical actions and items will become data-driven services. Healthcare providers are starting to harness the power of recorded physical actions—and the devices that sense them—to achieve new levels of efficiency.

  • Trend 7: Money Talks: Messaging services are merging with ecommerce to capture the (fleeting) attention and money of the most social users. We’ll see more big health brands adopting a visually rich, mobile-first strategy on platforms with established audiences.

  • Trend 8: Be Effortless: The number and range of connected devices in our world is growing rapidly. Mobile devices have become the sun around which this system orbits. As we move forward, however, it may be advantageous to move to a more symbiotic relationship between devices of all kinds (mobile, wearables and nearables), for a stronger device ecosystem and more effortless interactions.

  • Trend 9: The Sixth Sense: Today’s efficiently reactive services will be eaten by tomorrow’s delightfully predictive ones. Using smart design, analytics and data mining, health services will predict what a healthcare consumer wants before the user even clicks a button. To take advantage of this healthcare consumers will need to be able to trust healthcare organisations implicitly.

Detailed descriptions of the nine trends will help you navigate the confusing intersection of living services, the Internet of Things, Healthcare Analytics and Collaborative Clinical Pathways. I hope you find them useful. Pick your favourite trends, and don´t expect to see all nine trends apply to every service. Don´t even be surprised if you find some trends contradictory. These trends are based on observations in a number of industries and markets. They all happen at the same time, somewhere.

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