Global Teamwork for Healthcare
In 2011, United Imaging was still a newcomer when it set out to establish itself not only in China, but also globally. To carve out that local foothold in becoming one of the top healthcare companies in the world, the brand partnered with TEAMS.
An Luo, TEAMS President Asia-Pacific, saw that the project’s research would have to extend past the nation’s borders. “To compete with worldwide brands like Siemens, we’d have to look at insights beyond those in China. We needed both a seamless user experience and an entirely new take on visual brand language to get into the market.”
In order to find out how medical imaging experiences could be improved, our research teams set out to observe local hospitals not only in China, but also in the United States and Germany.
“We tried the machines ourselves by acting out the role as a patient,” said Zhihui Shi, TEAMS User Experience Designer. “From there we could match the patients’ emotions in going through these kinds of procedures.”
As each team came together and compared their experiences, the key findings jumped out.
In fact, many patients felt claustrophobic in the machines—or highly uncomfortable when they had to hold various poses in front of a scanning machine. Cultural differences pointed to varying patient procedures; for example, a Shanghai hospital built their own stairs leading up to machine—instead of taking the time to raise and lower the machine electronically. Insights led to faster and more efficient solutions for both patients and clinical staff.
“One of the major discoveries was that the equipment in China was being used at much higher rates — with much larger daily number of patients than our western counterparts,” said Zhihui Shi. “We also noticed that the patients didn’t always feel at ease or comfortable during the processes.”
An Luo, president of TEAMS Shanghai hinted to the group’s inspiration following the research phase “We were driven to create a device that would really hold up to that heavy traffic. The ease of maintenance and ease of using each product's most common functions became the guiding principles.”
To put form to those findings, designers from the US and Germany joined their colleagues in Shanghai for the project’s final phase: drawing up a new visual brand language that would support the brand’s position as both a leader in technology and as a business that understands their user’s unique needs. Understanding their user’s needs meant that the devices would get a human-centered design capable of making patients more comfortable.
An Luo compares the look of final results to modern smart phones: “With flat surfaces and intuitive operation panels, the new brand language embodies the same principles as today’s digital devices” – devices that are optimized for fast and almost constant use day-to-day.
Since coming to market, the new rollout has been commended for its thoughtful research and design, with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping, praising the designs for accelerating innovation in medical technology.