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Getting Back to the Basics of Human-Centered Design

Human-Centered Design (HCD)

Human-centered design is the process of creating systems that meet and adjust to functional requirements set by users [1]. The users can range from patients to doctors. This requires lots of communication so that requirements can be voiced and met as needed. Before developers start creating solutions and various systems, they need to understand the users’ end goal and work to create a plan that meets their needs. Once they’ve developed that system, they need to accept feedback and adjust as needed. User needs can change as technology evolves, and creating an HCD requires being adaptable. This continuous feedback loop is the key to creating patient-centric solutions.

Phases of Human-Centered Design


‘Discover’ is the first phase of the HCD process and it focuses on picking the problem that will need to be solved [1]. This phase usually includes interviews, research, and surveys.


The next phase in the process is the ‘define’ phase. During this phase, different potential solutions are brought up to address the initial problem that was chosen in the ‘discover’ phase [1]. Patient journey mapping is also done to go over the goals and intentions of the project [1].


The third phase is the ‘design’ phase where designers work to create a final solution to the initial problem [1]. Having customer input in this phase is crucial so that requirements are met. Moreover, this phase will help come up with various solutions based on the user’s priorities and expected results. 


The last phase is the ‘validate’ phase where the solution is tested and changed to fit the functional requirements [1]. This usually requires testing the system in front of patients or doctors. It is important to note that these phases run in a cycle due to the feedback loop that ensures client needs are met and that the project’s objectives are adjusted accordingly. 

Meeting Functional Requirements

Developers must work with users to create a set list of functional requirements that are constantly met [2]. Oftentimes, this can be done by creating a requirements traceability matrix that documents the process of completing requirements [2]. The matrix also makes sure that a feedback loop is used for updates due to changes in requirements [2]. This tool is useful in preventing software projects from failing or leading to costly setbacks.

Another key tool that meets functional requirements is the software development life cycle (SDLC). In general, the SDLC provides an outline of the application and design process [2]. One of the models is the agile model which focuses on user needs and input [2]. This helps make sure that functional requirements are met and that users have a say in the objectives. Moreover, this model ensures that a feedback loop is used where developers adjust the requirements as needed in order to support HCD. 

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Software Testing Improves Human-Centered Design

Developers test the software by adding checkpoints throughout the design process that makes sure customers can use the system effectively and with intended use [3]. This leads to a higher quality product and establishes trust with clients. More importantly, this also uses a feedback loop that tests the software and makes sure its features match functional requirements. Developers can use manuals or automated tools to test their software and make sure that users are using an effective interface that fits their needs. Overall, both functional and non-functional testing is crucial to HCD because it tests if the product lives up to user expectations. 

Help Desk Support Implementation

Implementing an HCD means that a constant feedback loop will be used. One of the most effective tools to create a feedback loop is to use help desk support. The help desk support makes sure that any user concerns are addressed [4]. This can range from bugs in the system, to a lack of functionality. Furthermore, help desks can prevent issues from coming up with the use of regular maintenance checks [4]. They also provide user training so that the system can be operated effectively and so that users are confident in the software. Overall, a help desk not only promotes a continuous feedback loop between developers and clients but also improves customer relations and builds trust with users. 

Clinical Decision Support (CDS) & Telehealth

CDS is an effective method of collecting, storing, analyzing, and using large amounts of patient data. It allows doctors to provide personalized health outcomes (5). Although CDS has multiple parts, one of the most important is the user interface, which allows doctors to use data in a useful way. CDS is an important part of HCD because patients can provide feedback on their care. Patients can also work towards getting better care through the use of alerts, remote monitoring, and educational resources [5]. Telehealth also plays a major role when used with CDS because it allows doctors to connect with patients on various platforms [5]. Developers can create easy-to-use interfaces that connect patients with doctors. This enables them to work tougher to maintain healthy choices due to constant monitoring and feedback. 

Future of Human-Centered Design

The future of HCD is to make quality care available to those who may not have access to it. This means that technology must push for inclusivity [6]. Furthermore, things like cost, efficiency, and accessibility must be taken into account [6]. Care is moving towards being more remote and virtual. However, virtual services may lack the trust and quality of care that in-person visits offer. Therefore, developers need to focus on using digital tools that provide convenient yet quality health outcomes. Lastly, developers need to focus on creating personalized health solutions. All of this is done when an HCD is put in place. 


We take pride in our services and settle for nothing other than 100% quality solutions for our clients. Furthermore, HITS focuses on changing health care by analyzing medical solutions and creating technological innovations. Having the right team assist with data sharing is crucial to providing collaborative and secure care for patients. If you’re looking for the right team, HITS is it! You can reach out to us directly at info@healthitsol.com. Check out this link if you’re interested in having a 15-minute consultation with us: https://bit.ly/3RLsRXR.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802070/ 
  2. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/getting-back-to-the-basics-of-developing-health-it-solutions/ 
  3. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/getting-back-to-the-basics-of-software-testing-in-health-it/ 
  4. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/getting-back-to-the-basics-of-help-desk-support-in-health-it/ 
  5. https://healthinformationtechnologysolutions.com/back-to-the-basics-of-clinical-decision-support-systems-cdss/ 
  6. https://hitconsultant.net/2021/08/17/healthcare-innovation-needs-human-centered-principles/
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