What constitutes a great “user experience?” Cognitive scientist Don Norman is credited with inventing the term in the late 1990s, and his Nielsen Norman Group still offers one of the best descriptions I’ve seen: “The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.”
Eliminating “fuss and bother” is vital for the nurses, physicians and other caregivers who depend on Voalte Platform to communicate with each other and coordinate care for their patients. Simplicity and intuitive design are at the heart of our smartphone solutions, ensuring that communication and collaboration is streamlined and efficient across the entire care team. Ease of use is also vital for the IT teams who implement and manage Voalte Platform in their complex hospital ecosystems.
To ensure our solutions help rather than hinder clinical and IT staff, our User Experience team spends a lot of time onsite with our customers. Senior UX Design Engineer, Justin Haldane, explains, “We don’t introduce new features just because we can, or in response to the latest technology fad. Instead, we regularly shadow nurses on the unit floor, observe how they work and discuss with them what we can do to make their lives easier.”
By assessing the needs of end users and administrators, we can be sure our solutions perform effectively for those who depend on them every day.
- Everyone uses smartphones. Legacy communication devices are often not intuitive to nurses and physicians, resulting in frustration, or worse, lack of adoption. Nearly everyone today depends on a smartphone for a multitude of tasks in their personal lives. Unlike some healthcare technologies that require extensive user training, Voalte smartphone solutions feel comfortable and familiar because they mirror the consumer experience.
- A unified directory keeps people connected. Being able to reach the right person at the right time is critically important for efficient patient care. The Voalte Directory lets users view other caregivers by name, role or the patient room to which they are assigned. They can also see at a glance who is available or busy, with available staff appearing at the top of the list. Photos of every user make the Directory a great way to “match a name with a face.” Nurses use the custom status bar to indicate when they are administering medication, for example, which limits interruptions. A nurse at the patient’s bedside doesn’t have to waste time reaching out for assistance from a team member who is not available to help.
- Ringtones speak volumes. When our team observes nurses and physicians on the job, it’s clear that these busy professionals literally have their hands full. Customers tell us that varying ringtones for different types of alarms and alerts helps them prioritize their work by indicating the urgency of each notification. An alert from a GE monitor can sound different from an alert from the electronic medical record, for example, while priority text messages can be configured to sound more urgent than a standard text.
- Security is paramount, but shouldn’t be a burden. In the healthcare environment, security is necessary to keep patient information private and protect hospitals from HIPAA violations. For Voalte users, we build in security features that provide needed security without being a “bother” to the end user. Moving forward, we’re developing new technologies that will make signing in even easier, while preserving privacy.
As Justin explains, “We work with our customers to get a deep understanding of their environment and the situations they encounter every day. By considering their challenges, we can be sure we’re providing solutions that solve their problems.”
Speaking of user experience, VUE17, our annual Voalte User Experience conference, is October 11 to 13 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. This year, we’re offering even more opportunities for customers to weigh in on how they use Voalte solutions. Our PreVUE workshops offer the opportunity to participate in small group discussions on the future of healthcare communication technology, request new product features and offer unique solutions to some common challenges. Seating for these workshops is extremely limited, so be sure to register early. I’m looking forward to seeing you there and hearing your ideas.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.