#DESIGN

Color psychology in healthcare products

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Do you know why doctors wear a green/blue surgical scrub while operating? Have you ever wondered why walls are muted in color at adult patient rooms and brightly colored at children recovery rooms?

The reason is colors influence human behavior. They affect our mood and emotions. They can even alter our perceptions or modify our actions. 

For instance, blue and green are cool and calming colors. They bring a sense of tranquility and put patients at ease while they are on the operation table. Similarly, white is a color associated with warmth and peace. Colors like white, beige, have a calming effect on patients under intensive care. Likewise, blue, green, yellow and pink are suited for pediatric units where children are recovering.

The choice of colors make an impact in physical spaces as well as digital products. 

Colors evoke different emotions in people according to their age, environment and condition. Therefore, it’s important to consider color theory while designing healthcare products. 

So, let’s see how we can use the right colors to heal and comfort our end users.

Prescription delivery apps

Prescription delivery apps

Amazon has changed the entire delivery gamut. Most people have a mindset of “why should I go out if I can order it from my mobile phone”. The basic feature of prescription delivery apps is to ensure easy access to medications on need-basis. Users may also need to consult with the staff remotely, or ask for a refill of their prescription.

For such kinds of apps, green and blue are the best choice of colors. They are refreshing, not too harsh on the senses and encourage concentration. These colors also work well for the pharmacists who are processing a lot of prescriptions by the hour. So, these colors help them concentrate on small details and deliver the right medication to intended recipients.

Informational and health communities apps

Informational and health communities apps

Mobile apps that share informative healthcare articles have just one aim- to make people more aware of diseases, medications, treatment methodology, and so on. They want to make users in charge of their own health by disseminating information on their portal. 

In such applications, we need to give users a control over what content they want to consume. We also have to ensure that the app functions well for all age groups. Including too many colors might hinder readability for elderly users whose vision declines with age. 

The primary color of such apps should be white, followed by blue and yellow. White is a color that denotes cleanliness, freshness, and simplicity. You can use shades of blue and yellow to convey depth and power. Yellow is associated with positivity and warmth. These colors add liveliness and encourage people to keep reading.

Patient-engagement apps

Patient-engagement apps

Patient engagement apps work at various levels- they connect patients with doctors, through online consultation. They remind patients when it’s time to take medications. They encourage patients to exercise regularly. They keep a track of insurance renewal, and so on. 

These apps also store sensitive information and personal health data. Therefore, the app colors must invoke a feeling of security as well as encouragement. These patient engagement apps aim to make users accountable for their own health. Therefore, colors that are soft and neutral must be used. 

Orange is a color that signifies health, happiness, and encouragement. Green is the color of nature and it denotes freshness, and progress. One can even use shades of pink as they represent kindness and affection. Darker shades of pink or orange can be used in designing medication reminders and pills tracker. 

Personal wellness apps

Personal wellness apps

A major shift has happened in the way we manage our health. With apps that can monitor sleep, calories, heartbeats, and even steps, personal wellness apps have an increasing consumer demand. 

Personal wellness apps help in motivating people to track their vitals, self-monitor critical signs of illness, and stay fit. Therefore the colors in these apps should give a playful, cheerful and cool vibe. Shades of purple, blue, and pink are the right colors for these kinds of wellness apps.

Purple denotes ambition and devotion which fits well with the mindset to track and improve health. Blue and pink add the coolness and kindness quotient. Pink exudes the message of playfulness as well as tenderness.

Remote consultation and monitoring apps

Remote consultation and monitoring apps

Remote consultation and health monitoring apps help in keeping the patient connected with their doctors. They are especially useful for the elderly or disabled who can’t visit the doctor’s clinic regularly.

In such apps, one important thing to consider is the choice of colors for all age groups. Color perception changes with age and demographics. What works for middle-aged people wouldn’t necessarily work with elderly. So, during the user research phase, identify your user persona and decide who your target audience is. People in their 30’s or 40’s might prefer bright and vibrant colors that are playful and cheery. On the other hand, older people are likely to enjoy softer, soothing colors like beiges and whites.

EHR apps

EHR apps

Patients are more informed now than ever. Technology has changed the way healthcare data is accessed and inferred. The end users want to analyze their personal health data and take control of their health. They also want to keep their privacy intact. 

This means that the color palette of the application should give a confident, trustworthy and cool vibe. So use neutral colors and a lot of white space so that the users can access important information in a hassle-free way. You can also use warm tones to show graphical information. 


In conclusion, I would just say start by reading about the psychology of colors. Understand the color wheel. Deep dive into various factors that affect people’s perception. All this will help you in deciding the best color combinations for your app. Colors that are well thought out after doing research on the demographics of the app, are timeless. They always attract new users and keep them engaged, no matter which trend appears or disappears.

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