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One Step Ahead of the User Experience

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When you pick up your iPad®, there’s the usual tap, click, swipe and pinch. But isn’t there more to it than that?

Our devices provide us with reams of engaging information with barely the flick of a finger, but increasingly, even that amazing capability is becoming passé. We’re already becoming accustomed to an experience wherein data is provided for us not by our searching for it, but as a result of our device understanding what we want.

We have entered the age of ambient information (source) — a user experience in which data is available with almost no effort and the user effortlessly engages with information as they go about their day. Just think of what we already use our tablets and smartphones for. We order products, identify and purchase songs, navigate roads, set timers, share stories, watch movies, update friends, read books, capture photos and videos, and do a thousand other things with barely a few finger motions. Consider how outlandish that would have seemed only 10 years ago. It’s not far-fetched at all to imagine a leap as big, or bigger, in the decade ahead.

Today, smartphones and wearables are focused on predictive services. Tablet and tablet app designers don’t seem to be matching their gusto for predictive yet, though, and that’s an error. Tablets need to harness this and give users information based on where they are, what they’re doing, what data they’re already using, and how they’re behaving or have behaved in the past.

And what we put into tablet apps as healthcare content providers needs to be predictive as well. Intouch Solutions’ CEO, Faruk Capan, recently said, “As marketers, we’ve been talking about being predictive, patient-centric and customer-centric for years, but it’s largely been lip service. The full potential of the tablet medium is really exciting.”

Of course, one of the biggest categories for ambience is health data. We wear and carry all sorts of devices to measure everything from our pulse to our calories to our sun exposure to our blood glucose. Tablets can be the new control center for all of these wearable-generated data streams; they can collate, sort, analyze, predict and act as control center. Apple’s recent HealthKit announcement proves that Apple has this exact vision in mind: iPhones® and iPads everywhere will be able to serve as a centralized platform for hosting everyone’s personal health information ecosystem.

Imagine a university student with diabetes, whose iPad contains textbooks and notes, but can also give a pop-up reminder in the quad, reminding him or her to have lunch between classes and recommending meal options based on their weight (from their scale that morning), their blood glucose level (from their contacts), a medication dosing reminder (from their pharma-sponsored app), their schedule (from their calendar), their current location (from the tablet’s GPS), and the menu options being served that day (from the school’s website). That’s the potential: easily and proactively enabling informed, healthy behaviors.

Consider your own issues and concerns — what you monitor and look for in both your family’s health and your own. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have that kind of synchronization, understanding and proactive assistance? Just imagine how our patients could benefit and our healthcare providers, too. It’s our job to stay ahead of the user’s expectations in the tablet-based solutions that we deliver.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series where we’ll talk more about the potential of tablets to centralize health data.

 

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