In some domains, doing UX research can be more difficult than in others. The type of participants in your research may be difficult to find or to work with, and/or the context of the research may be extra complex.
Healthcare is one of those domains that typically brings extra challenges. To include patients and their caregivers into your research is often not easy. You may first need approval from an ethical committee to carry out the research. Caregivers tend to have packed schedules that won’t easily allow time for your research. You meet patients to talk about what are often very personal experiences, which can be difficult to share with someone unfamiliar to them.
On their blog, Dr Sven Jungmann and Dr Karolin Neubauer have written a useful guide on how to prepare for your research in healthcare. This sheds light on three research challenges, summarised as three Bs:
- Barriers to trust
These Bs play a role in any research and their impact can never be fully removed, but there are good ways to prepare your healthcare research so their impact is minimised. Useful suggestions elaborated on in the blog include desk research about the disease or medical procedure your research focuses on, asking doctors to advise you which patients to interview, involving caregivers, building trust with your target group, and taking into account that different hospitals may need different solutions.
The more knowledgeable you are about health problems, the better you can steer interviews towards relevant issues. If you do this empathetically, your interviewees might find it easier to speak about them.
Having some experience in doing UX research in a clinical setting, I recognise many of the points made in this article. In my opinion, the take-aways and the structured approach they describe are really helpful when preparing a study in a clinical context.