Feminine gamification viewpoint: health checks
In the European health system your age determines the types and regularity of invitations you receive for health checks, personally I think that is a great thing from the perspective that prevention is better than cure. The process however is not always as straight forward with letters as the main form of communication and when you have additional questions, I found out that you can only ask one question at a time by email, which became an interesting game.
I have to say having experienced a number of health systems (Belgium, Ireland, UK and Sweden), the experience is similar. The best experiences have been those that could be performed in my own doctor’s practise, where there is already an element and relationship of trust. The worst have been those where the sterile environment of a large daunting maze of a hospital is involved. From an experience design perspective, giving an individual ownership over part of the process such as the appointment itself and the type of location where you prefer to have this kind of check-up, would in my view be an improvement. Trying to change an appointment at the moment tends to be a bureaucratic intervention. For women regular check-ups usually involve our private areas, hence being treated by someone respectful and gentle and ideally also someone you trust is part of the positive experience especially because the procedures require less than flattering poses.
Patient centred experience design has definitely room for improvement. As I was researching for this post, the amount of people actually not showing up for their appointed check-up is high and in my view the above reasons could have something to do with it. I would rather keep my sense of ownership in the process, so if the health system let me know I have a 2 month period in which I can avail of my regular health check and what the benefit is to me to do it, followed with an easy booking system either online or by phone or even an app which links with my calendar and reminds me. And then when I have been I would like to receive a positive reinforcement of taking positive preventative action. An online health card which is personal to me, where I receive health check alerts and then receive health kudos for completing my health check mission and feedback when the results have been met either through another positive message that the feedback is in, please contact your doctor.
One female health check I would love product designers especially from the sphere of wearable technology to have a look at, is the mammogram machine. Seriously, who designed this thing! Talk about square pegs and round holes as well as causing unnecessary hurt, purely because of bad design. The machine is designed to clamp and flatten the breast, which in most women’s anatomy is round in shape and all of it’s plates are square angles, no rounded materials in sight, hence the increased pain factor. Quite frankly I will think twice and go in with a large amount of trepidation next time, this machine is fundamentally flawed from a design perspective. With the advance in wearable technology I would look for a bra like device, and the machine moving around the breast instead of the woman being manhandled into unpractical painful positions to suit the machine. Also have women involved in the design process, because I would be very surprised if the current machines had female input. I know I am not the only one judging from the amount of posts online about equally uncomfortable experiences.
The reward for this type of ordeal, should be something definitely more significant. But in reality from a patient experience perspective, this is a clear case of the machine is the broken element in this process. I believe preventative measures and checks are absolutely essential, with breast cancer in my immediate circle of friends I wouldn’t miss the test, but I do question why it needs to be so painful. When it comes to playing on intrinsic motivation, being on the receiving end of pain is definitely not a good motivator. Having a pleasant and gentle experience, a personal connection and positive reinforcement works for me.
What will encourage you to have regular health checks and how would you improve the experience?