Transforming Healthcare with Ambient User Experience

The proliferation of wearables, wireless sensors, the Internet of Things—all of these are helping enable ambient user experience, which was identified by Gartner as one of the top 10 tech trends for 2016. What does this technology mean for the healthcare industry?

Saying the word “ambient” probably makes you think of elevator music. And you’re not far off, according to this ConRes blog post from earlier this year: “Think soft jazz playing in the background, shaping your mood without you really noticing why. Now imagine that rather than soft jazz, we’re talking about technology, applications, information. Stuff that keeps working away, ticking along in the background, responding to the data it collects automatically to shape your environment and your experience without you consciously interacting with it. That’s the Ambient User Experience.”

According to this Emerge Interactive post, ambient user experience will eventually make way for something called Zero UI: “Based on this, context devices will predict their user’s needs, always staying a step ahead of them and eventually making user interfaces superfluous.”

Ambient User Experience in Action

Ambient user experience has the potential to immensely impact and influence today’s healthcare products and solutions. For example, it can be used in patient tracking, as well as remote care management. A new Future Focus whitepaper from emids, for example, illustrates ambient user experience in action at a long-term care facility where a patient fell and needed immediate help to prevent a life-threatening injury. In the example, this concept ensured effective tracking of the patient, swift notification and subsequent action by the caretakers and instant, automatic reporting to all of the necessary stakeholders.

Challenges of Designing and Developing for Ambient User Experience

Designing and developing for ambient user experience requires more than a traditional, user-centered approach. Instead, it’s important to consider and understand the central role and activities of stakeholders, including technical architects, clinicians, patients and family members, and identify their real needs.

“Contextuality is a critical aspect of Ambient User Experience,” the emids whitepaper explains. “Information captured at the right time should appear at the right time, in the right place, in the right context and on the right device for it to make a difference.”

Read our white paper to learn more about design for the ambient user experience.

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