How to influence behaviour with digital products for better health and a better life?

a Supercharge report to boost your health-related digital products

Anett A. Toth

Anett A. Toth

Product Strategist

Balazs Fonagy

Balazs Fonagy

Head of Product Design

Bence Lukacs

Bence Lukacs

Experience Design Lead

Design Healthcare
03 March, 2021

Cut right to the chase! What is the most relevant topic to boost your product?

01
nudges

how to influence and help decision making in digital products

02
habits

how to help users form healthy habits

03
gamification

how to build motivating gamification systems

Healthcare: the designated torchbearer of digital innovation

Most developed nations spend over 10% of their yearly GDP on health-related expenditures. No wonder that the sector is considered the next big frontier of digitalisation. Customer expectations do not recognise boundaries between industries and as “software eats the world” in other areas of life (entertainment, commerce, finance… and now even education and administration are waking from their slumber), healthcare is placed under tremendous pressure to reimagine itself in a connected world. It’s not surprising that the industry all around the globe works hard to create a holistic digital experience to patients that is on par with expectations transported from other, digitally more mature areas (real-time information, booking systems, self-care functions, etc.).

Industries going through digital transformation right now have a much easier time to reform their operations. Reinventing the wheel became unnecessary here: the digital space has already established its best-practices and expectations. We have no doubt that the above goals will be met during the next five years, abiding the law of gravity centred around customer demand. Will it be easy? By no means, but it will be quicker than expected – and inevitable. Gravity rarely fails to work.

Even so, we think that the healthcare industry is capable of much more than just catching up with the leaders of the digital revolution.

Health is such a fundamental source of human happiness that we consider it the single most important area for innovation. It should, and we believe in many areas it will pioneer the symbiosis of technology and humans.

“We are all cyborgs now,” claims Amber Case, who researches the way people and machines interact and evolve together. Nonsense? If we think about all the ways our mobile phone augments or replaces our natural human abilities – memory, access to information, communication, productivity – it suddenly becomes hard to argue with her. Wearable technology is still in its infancy but it’s already clear that health and well-being are the most exciting areas where it can enrich our daily lives. Now it’s up to the leading minds of the healthcare industry to define how we turn these opportunities into a driving force for longer and more fulfilling lives.

Change behaviours to change lives

In recent years Supercharge’s design team has been helping healthcare experts to turn their vision of the future into products that change lives. We learnt that for introducing radical changes in one’s health regime, good health practitioners are often not enough on their own. They can point out the path, but it’s the patient who has to walk it. In prevention and treatment alike, results are profoundly affected by patient behaviour. This is especially true as focus shifts from treatment to prevention, and boundaries between well-being, fitness and healthcare become ever more blurred. This is the trend that prompted us to dedicate this report to the topic of influencing behaviour through digital products.

While we attempted to provide a glimpse into significant results of behavioural science, ultimately what we wanted was to give you a hefty collection of practical techniques that you can apply to help users make better choices and adopt healthier habits. 

Our report covers three extensive topics. First, we talk about the frail nature of human decision-making and show how Nudges may remedy our built-in biases. Then we discuss how to help users adopt new habits to improve the quality of their lives. Finally, we examine how to leverage one of the most ancient sources of joy – games – to keep up motivation. We believe that these three topics are deeply interconnected and together they offer a wide array of tools. With these in hand, it’s possible to create effective digital products that are able to solve unique problems.

Talking about behavioural change has never been more relevant than right before the start of a new year. After all, ‘tis the season for big resolutions to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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