Doctor, doctor: Revolutionising telehealth with creative app design
Creative app design is unlocking massive opportunities for global firms.
Aetna International (part of Aetna, a Fortune 100 company) looks after the health of over 650,000 expatriate members around the world. With a history stretching back for over 160 years, it’s revolutionizing medical insurance across all four corners of the globe. Not to mention winning armfuls of awards including ‘Best International Private Health Insurance Provider’ and (repeatedly) ‘Health Insurer of the Year’.
The skilled team at the helm is developing new propositions and products to empower members. The key aim? To transform the company into more than just a healthcare provider. It’s becoming a healthcare partner.
Take the Health Hub. It’s a secure online member portal but not as you know it. We worked with the Senior Director of Global Digital Marketing, Sheeba Kakar, to create an online portal for members that wasn’t just a document repository.
Instead, the portal is full of useful tools that deliver customizable convenience. For example, there are tailored health and wellness resources to help members build their own health action plan to follow while they’re away from home. It’s raised the bar for provider propositions and seen digital adoption soar.
So, of course, it made sense to team up to deliver the next big thing on their list: a telehealth service, backed up by a beautifully creative app design.
A cross-borders project for the smartphone savvy
But first, what exactly is telehealth? Also known as virtual health, it’s essentially a practitioner in your pocket. Users can book video appointments with a doctor (without sitting in the waiting room) and order prescriptions at the tap of a button.
Dr. Sneh Khemka, Aetna International’s President of Population Health, says that it’s fundamentally changing the way society manages and delivers healthcare. Which allows Aetna to provide a ‘uniquely integrated healthcare journey’.
So where to start? First, Aetna International held on-the-ground focus groups in India, where the app was launched first. It got to know the potential users and the types of functionality they would need. This kind of insight is invaluable as it provides real-life relevance and keeps the brief grounded. Plus, it gave us a shopping list of features to — well — feature.
Then came the check-in with the in-house IT teams and the Indian developers to make sure that everything was in place for Aetna’s systems to talk to each other. With that ticked off, it was time for the creative thinking to get underway.
Putting pen to paper
The first step involved brainstorming and wireframing. (As with all our creative app design projects.)
We checked out some of the other players on the market, as well as our most-used non-industry apps, to get a feel for the latest trends. This gave us a great moodboard of inspiration and ideas, which acted as our jumping-off point.
But we didn’t want to copy the previous ‘next big thing’. We knew we had to go beyond simple swipes and predictable pinches.
Take the main navigation system, for example. We wanted to reduce the amount of tapping back and forth through the app to access the different areas. So, we reinvented the wheel. In a sense. Our wheel’s a thumb-sized compass that takes you exactly where you need to go. First element down. Countless more to go.
Working in agile sprints, we began to flesh out more of the features and work out how all our visuals should interact with each other. But of course, app design is a moving beast. And with stakeholders across three different continents chipping in with more great ideas, we were working fast to keep the app on the best possible course.
We took the wireframes over to New York City for sign off before working up a visual identity for the app.
The name, vHealth, was already set, and the original research gave us insight into region-appropriate colors. Armed with this knowledge as our starting point, we were off.
We developed several different graphics and patterns, experimenting with colorways and typography, to find the right fit. In a country as culturally vibrant as India, color brings together all the different outlooks, lifestyles and traditions. But we had to be mindful that some of the colors we favor here in Europe have very different connotations over there.
With a little tweaking of creative, we settled on a polygon-based graphic and a blue-green gradient palette. It was bright and fresh, giving us cohesion throughout the different pages while enough flexibility and flair for movement.
Creative app design: The next steps
And from there, it was all about skinning the wireframes. That means bringing the vibrant visual identity to life, and writing compelling copy.
We wanted Aetna’s caring tone of voice to shine through the app at every stage. And at the same time, demonstrate the extensive experience of its 16,500 Swiss-trained medical professional partners. We know this can be a tricky balance to strike but from experience, we know that insurance-speak doesn’t have to be impenetrable. And even administrative communications can be engaging.
vHealth: Creative app design that’s changing the world
In our connected and ever-busy world, telehealth provides a welcome solution for the time-poor. vHealth is already making a clear mark on the Indian market. On launch, it was projected to reduce the need for a physical consultation by an average of 47%. So it’s helping users get the medical care they need, then carry on with their day.
Buoyed by its success, Aetna has high hopes for the future aspiring to reach 4 million customers in India by 2020. Before long, it’ll launch the app in the UK, Dubai and Singapore. And we’re proud that our creative app design will play a part in its success.
vHealth: revolutionizing healthcare, one app at a time.