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Patient-centricity cheat sheet: what to consider when designing e-health solutions for the elderly




In the context of an ageing population, actors of the healthtech ecosystem are all trying to seize the opportunities to reach for the 65+ market. As the average life expectancy keeps raising, all the focus is on increasing the healthspan, in other words in maximizing quality of life for the longest possible time.


Everybody recognizes the potential of technology to achieve such a goal. However, it requires a change in the way we design devices and apps. The overwhelming majority of the tech worker crowd is young, and people tend to instinctively design for themselves. The tech sector is not an exception.


The goal of this article is therefore to enumerate a few of the important considerations to have when designing a solution for someone over 65.



A few of them are very practical.


- Apps and devices must be adapted to people facing a loss of fine motor skills. Small buttons, interactive elements too close to each other shouldn’t be included.


- Vision and hearing: in-app and notification sounds must adapt to the common decrease in hearing of higher-pitch sounds. Larger font sizes and highly contrasting colours will be preferred.


- Previous tech experience: what are the devices or apps that your target population is already using? Inspiration can be drawn from other user interfaces to ease up adaptation to the new technology.


- Older people’s attention span is higher than within the rest of the population. Long content is therefore welcome.


Despite of an increase in user-experience research that allowed the tech industry to come up with those guidelines, long-term use of apps has remained quite low. After the interest driven by novelty, users must see the value in integrating the solution into their lives. For that reason, we who want to design technological experience to support older patients must look beyond the practical considerations linked to physiological processes.


What matters are desires and aspirations of such individuals on a more holistic point of view, which we can only uncover by asking those complex, open questions. How do they enjoy interacting with family, friends, and healthcare personnel? What makes them feel safe in their home/in the care home? How does the best possible ageing future look like for them?


If you are from a pharmaceutical company, or a CRO, or within the homecare sector, and are interested in supporting elderly patients with their treatments, don't hesitate to contact us via the form below.

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