17 February 2022

You’re doing digital health wrong

AI Apps Clinical


When retinal specialist, Dr Devinder Chauhan, realised 3 years ago that there was a huge variation in the care provided by retinal clinics, he decided there had to be a better way.

And he was right.

He decided to tackle this issue by building a clinical assessment tool that utilised Machine Learning and Neural networks to guide clinical decision making.

The result? Even the most experienced clinicians are empowered to provide increased levels of care with AI technology providing a handy guard rail against interpretation and time pressure constraints.

Now, Dr Chauhan’s company, Macuject, is helping to prevent blindness in millions of people every year by guiding doctors and patients to personalised treatment strategies throughout their life-long eye injection journey.

It’s safe to say that Dr Chauhan chose the right intervention.

But how do you make sure you do too?

The short answer: design thinking.

Design thinking will make digital health great again

Without the right design methodology, you can’t possibly know if you’re solving the right problem with the right technology.

Design thinking is – or at least should be – at the absolute core of every digital health intervention.

So, what is it?

Design Thinking focuses on understanding the goals, motivations and behaviours of people interacting with healthcare.

At Curve, we’ve developed The Curve WayTM – a 6-step User-Centered Design methodology, to enable exactly that.

For Macuject, the discovery of the key pain points putting pressure on ophthalmologists (OCT scan interpretation, treatment uncertainty, time pressure) thanks to the iterative design process taken, meant that the right technology solution was found that could make a huge difference in how healthcare could be delivered.

And in the world of digital technology, it is arguably even more important to consider the ergonomics of how users interact with digital products and services that exist to improve health outcomes.

How about a bedtime story?

Digital is an enabler – but it might not always be the primary, or only solution. And the only way to know whether that’s the case is to go through a detailed design thinking process.

In randomised controlled trials on sleep interventions for young kids, different options were considered at a major research institute.

Despite the inclination to take the interventions and ‘put them in an app’, it wasn’t actually helpful for parents to use their phone during bedtime routines.

This is where the notion of the ‘value to nuisance ratio’ comes into play.

Because of its expert use, the human-centred design process led to the creation of a storybook that provided the intervention in a physical and easy-to-deliver format, with separate support for parents via an app for PREMs/PROMs.

It goes to show, that without the right design methodology, it’s incredibly easy to make the wrong intervention decision.

Going one step further – getting the development right

So once you’ve got the design down, what’s next?

You’ve got to design something worth using of course!

And it’s not necessarily as simple as you might think – app development is complex at the best of times, but when you add in the clinical governance requirements, cybersecurity imperatives and ethical considerations that medicine brings to the table, you can bet that medical app development becomes a whole different ball game – and that means there are extra things you need to consider!

That’s why we’ve gone and poured our 12+ years of digital health experience into this 5 step guide to help you understand the intricacies of the app development process.

Why did we bother? So that you can get your health technology solution off the ground and into the hands of the care providers and patients that need it the most.


Curve Tomorrow is a digital health technology company that specialises in solving complex healthcare problems with innovative and seamless technology solutions.