Planar Medical Systems
USING DESIGN LANGUAGE TO IMPROVE UX & PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION
Distinguishing hospital-worthy displays from consumer market monitors required stepping up the experience, durability, and all-around design.
Planar’s flat panel displays have become ubiquitous in hospitals around the world. And that’s part of the problem: customers figure a screen is a screen, and often buy the cheapest consumer model they can find. THRIVE* stepped in to change this mindset, helping Planar create a differentiated product that spoke to the needs of medical providers and helped them see the unparalleled value in products made just for them.
Screens designated for patient care must be healthcare compliant, but that makes them expensive, so many hospitals minimize costs by buying consumer models. Three hospital areas, however, couldn’t afford not to have specialized equipment: radiology, hallway workstations and patient rooms. We spoke in-depth with stakeholders and spent a lot of time shadowing staff to see what could make a big difference in these departments’ day-to-day screen usage.
We found that medical professionals considered the frames on typical monitors distracting and that messy nests of cables added to patient anxiety. What’s more, we saw nurses tripping over bulky display carts, bumping into sharp corners and working around the visual clutter of complicated monitor-plus-PC setups. Finally, we found that mobile charting stations were a pain to use at night (nurses tended to hold flashlights in their teeth to see files and notes). In short, there were numerous concerns that the commodity market couldn’t care less about.
Addressing each department’s pain points, we transformed Planar’s monitors into medical-grade standouts. For radiology, display frames receded to stress the picture and cords stayed out of the way. Patient rooms received streamlined kiosks with hidden cords and pain-free rounded corners to reduce anxiety-provoking visual clutter. For hallway charting stations, we connected the PC to the screen in a single (detachable) dock, added directional LEDs at the bottom for illumination, designed invisible cord control and put it all on a symmetrical stand that evoked order, calm and simplicity. Finally, all screens were surrounded by gaskets to show that they were splash-proof and impervious to moisture.
The result of these innovations was a visual brand language we called “modern medical.” This aesthetic spoke directly to medical professionals’ requirements, reducing superfluous detail and telegraphing clinical toughness, cleanliness and precision. In short, the new monitors looked and felt like they could deliver in life-and-death situations, giving hospitals a suite of products worth the premium price and Planar a guideline for innovating into the future.