How to Increase Patient Portal Engagement with UX

By Rajat Satle

patient portal design

Creating seamless experiences for users is at the heart of user experience (UX) design. In the healthcare industry, this involves building user-centric interfaces that simplify complex processes, support users in their health journey, and, ultimately, save lives. A significant part of this experience in today’s digital age is the design of patient portals – an essential service in the Healthcare UX domain.

UX design in healthcare: A patient-centric approach

Healthcare UX, or user experience design in healthcare, is a niche that demands empathy, understanding, and a commitment to solving real-world problems. Our work in this space has been extensive, with a focus on making health information and services accessible and easy to navigate.

Patient portals have been a particular focus. They provide a critical communication bridge between healthcare providers and patients, allowing easy access to medical records, appointment scheduling, and direct communication with care providers. However, these portals often suffer from low user engagement due to poor UX design. Our mission has been to turn this around by employing an evidence-based design approach grounded in understanding the users’ needs.

Increasing engagement with the patient portal design

At our design agency, we have taken several strategic steps to enhance patient engagement with portals. Here are the highlights of our approach:

1. Understanding user needs

We always start by gaining an in-depth understanding of users’ needs, preferences, and behaviours. We conduct focus groups, user interviews, and surveys to gather data and insights, which are then synthesized to inform our UX strategies.

2. Simplifying the journey

Healthcare information can often be complex and overwhelming for patients. We aim to simplify the user journey by organizing information in a straightforward and intuitive way, facilitating easy navigation.

3. Enhancing accessibility

As a part of our healthcare UX philosophy, we ensure our designs are accessible to all users, including those with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities. We use universal design principles and follow accessibility guidelines to make sure everyone can use the patient portals.

4. Humanizing interactions

We design interfaces that are not just usable but also human. For instance, we use conversational language instead of medical jargon and microinteractions to provide real-time feedback and validation to users.

5. Encouraging user involvement

Finally, we continuously involve users in the design process, carrying out usability testing and gathering feedback to refine our solutions. This iterative approach ensures our patient portal designs continually evolve to meet users’ changing needs.

Demonstrating success

Our healthcare UX work has had a transformative impact on patient portal engagement. One case study that stands out is our project with a large hospital network. Their previous patient portal had low usage rates and negative feedback, mainly due to its complexity and poor navigability.

After employing our patient-centric UX design approach, the redesigned portal saw a 70% increase in usage within the first three months. Users praised the new intuitive design and the simplification of complex processes. Additionally, the hospital network reported an increase in operational efficiency as more patients used the portal for routine tasks instead of calling or visiting in person.


Our journey in healthcare UX, particularly in patient portal design, has been about putting patients at the center of our design process. Through understanding user needs, simplifying their journey, enhancing accessibility, humanizing interactions, and encouraging user involvement, we have transformed patient portals into engaging, user-friendly platforms. The results speak for themselves – higher engagement, increased patient satisfaction, and improved healthcare outcomes. UX design in healthcare is not just about creating better interfaces; it’s about making healthcare more accessible and efficient for everyone.

Whether you are looking to redesign your patient portal or start from scratch, we are here to help. Together, we

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