image“The best healthcare must involve kindness and instill trust,” reads the title of a Huffington Post UK article written by David Haslam, Chair of NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NICE (an appropriate acronym for the article’s sentiment) is in fact not an institution known for charity or do-goodness, but is the organization that is charged with assessing the cost-effectiveness and -benefit of medical innovations — drugs, devices, procedures and processes.

Haslam writes that kindness and trust connote “care, community and friendship.” These factors have a profound impact on health outcomes, Haslam has observed.

Trust drives health engagement, we’ve learned in the US through consumer research; and, kindness underpins trust.

imageGood design can also connote kindness and engender trust. A case in point, trying to accomplish these objectives, comes this week from ZocDoc which unveiled its new design for re-imagining the brand.

The centerpiece of the brand refresh campaign, developed by leading design firm Wolf Olins, is the patient-character “Zee.” Zee, whose faced is constructed with the letter “Z” and ever-changing elements like a “meh” zig-zag mouth shape, a “cheeky” smile and a wink, and a quizzical questioning look, among other expressions illustrated in the graphic.

“The new design favors animated patients over doctors,” the company’s press release said.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Close friends of mine recently moved from London to New York City and were unhappy with their primary care doctors’ practices. I suggested they check out One Medical for a new kind of physician office experience, and they did so. They have since waxed lyrically (happily) about their visits, akin to their first trip to Trader Joe’s on the upper west side and walks on the High Line. Note that One Medical’s website currently uses the messaging, “Find a doctor who cares about you.”

It’s about the experience. Good design isn’t just about products and ads; it’s about processes. As ZocDoc is attempting to accomplish through its brand re-fresh, putting a patient with various personae at the center (just like real life moods and sentiments can change for each of us, day to day, if we’re well, unwell, or quite ill), One Medical has re-imagined and -designed the patient experience from initial online scheduling, minimizing waiting room time, through the billing experience.

imageIn each of their approaches, ZocDoc and One Medical are considering trust and kindness in design. So has Dignity Health in its re-branding since changing its name from Catholic Healthcare West. The ad, shown here, is an example of incorporating trust and kindness in messaging.

Haslam, talking about the UK’s beloved National Health Service, has his message just-right for both the UK and the US health systems.