The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued a report with 10 best practices recommendations for developing and marketing health information technology products for consumers.

The recommendations incorporate lessons learned in developing consumer I.T. products in other industries. “The guide is constructed to show how attention to customer needs and expectations throughout the design and development process will result in products that are accepted, useful and used,” according to the report. “This information is meant to assist companies that are starting a consumer health I.T. enterprise, seeking to improve their presence in the market, or expanding their customer base to new segments of health care consumers.”

The recommendations, further detailed and mapped by development phases in the report, are:

* Assemble and prepare a design team consisting of members with appropriate knowledge and skills for all product development phases;

* Strive to understand customer needs within the environments that the product will be used throughout all product development phases;

* Include a diverse set of customers when generating ideas for new products and when evaluating early product iterations;

* Select and apply well-developed and established design methods in combination with intuition- or innovation-driven design approaches;

* Use multiple approaches early to learn about customers and the market to inform the product’s design;

* Drive design decisions and modifications based on learning from prototyping and pilot testing activities;

* Define and tailor success metrics based on the needs and contexts of unique customer segments;

* Balance customer needs with product safety and privacy concerns specific to health I.T. products;

* Build products based on established health data and transmission standards; and

* Incorporate successful marketing strategies to promote the product and be responsive to customers once the product is promoted and adopted.

The report, “Designing Consumer Health IT: A Guide for Developers and Systems Designers,” is available here.

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