Maintaining health when healthcare and insurance remain
Addressing the tangled web of our U.S. healthcare system is essential for holistic wellness for everyone. If you or someone you know has anything less than “amazing” health insurance then you know healthcare is a tough subject.
Your average American adult over 25 y.o. will mention at least
one of these issues in a conversation about healthcare. If
your company provides health insurance then you may not notice
the expense but you may experience feeling confused on which
doctors are in-network and how much you can expect to pay
after your appointment. We have all heard the news lately
about large bills arriving post-procedure (aka “Surprise
Bills”) of hundreds to thousands of dollars. I think we can
all agree that healthcare should not agitate more health
The issues mentioned above are attributed to political and social policies which oftentimes moves slower than technology. In the meantime, what to do about the tangled web that not only confuses you and me, but also stumps doctors and other medical staff? MediXall (referred to as the company from here on) originally hired me for a separate more tame project, but eventually this one landed The company saw an opportunity to address these problems for the average person but they needed to better understand what might relieve a consumer in the interim.
The company was a small startup of less than 10 people at the time. Three of those team members were developers and their sole designer (moi!) made up the dev and design team. As lead product designer, I was responsible for turning business needs and consumer pain points into solutions, wireframes, and a prototype. I made a google site for the company and included all of the ways I was involved in this product. My mission was to demonstrate the need for additional designers for this type intensive product development.
The business defined our audience as “everyone” because their
vision is to solve healthcare for every need and demographic.
Short of ambitious this was a lot to consider as their
designer. Therefore, I strategized and thought logically about
our most likely consumer.
Considering our product is digital, relies on knowledge of using a smartphone, requires trust in technology, and would provide value for people with insurance then I anticipated our potential audience would be the following:
These types of users are more likely to consider breaking the paradigm of booking and completing healthcare services. We know from our surveys that people often discover new doctors through referrals from family, friends, and current medical professionals. Contrary to that trend, Zocdoc’s search platform has contributed to breaking that paradigm paving the way for future companies that rely on online searches and reviews.
I set out to understand the issues more thoroughly with limited resources (startup life!) My strategies included:
My research was motivated by my own confusion, fear, and lack of confidence in being a designer-of-1 on a dev team that was relying on me to produce something for them to build and a business that had needs and expectations.
The company requested an early prototype that could educate our consumer and in return I strongly requested that I have time in the deadline to test this prototype thoroughly. I took all of the resources from my research, narrowed down some hypothetical pain points, and put on my magic cap. This led to the first iteration which to no surprise had a design overhaul post-testing analysis.
My test users expressed satisfaction with the concept of the product. They liked the efforts made to help them understand where they stood financially in their insurance plan like their deductible and previous appointments and spending. On the downside my cards, tone of copy, and onboarding approach did not translate. Again, I was not surprised by this and happily invited the opportunity to try again with new knowledge.
In the second iteration, I focused on simplicity and
integration of functionality. What this meant was trimming the
fat of the onboarding cards, making each screen dynamic and
relevant to that particular user, and streamlining user
interactions from sign-in straight to the product value.
Key new features below:
What I learned from doing research is that most insurance plans have at least three different states:
Each state represents a scenario with more or less limitations
and financial burden. The most financial weight on the user is
the first state and the least burden is in the last state where
the insurance company covers all medical costs except for the
No doubt this is all valuable information for all parties involved, but as I dug deeper I noticed something very disturbing. In order for our users to maximize shared costs and support from their insurance company they would have to be incredibly unwell. Individuals who have maxed out a high OOP (e.g. $10,000) must have received a lot of medical services like surgery, viral treatments, or some other serious condition. Let’s not forget we are talking about people’s real lives and their well being. Reaching each of these insurance states may not equate to “winning” like in other markets.
The product reached the stage of development. It’s built with vue.js on the frontend and php on the backend. Multiple APIs were required to create the functionality of the design. Currently, there are some roadblocks.
A lot of testing and feedback is required at this point in product development. Ideally, we would have tested on a weekly basis. Particular areas for testing include:
As an empath, healer, and designer of solutions I am simply not satisfied with the current iteration of the product. I’m glad we could add features that assist people in their time of need and in some cases most vulnerable moments. However, there is more to be achieved here. Displaying visual graphs of a user’s health expenditures is not the same as Credit Karma showing increased credit scores or gaining membership points for free collectibles at your favorite department store. An increase in health spending often correlates with an increase in health challenges. Where is the validation and delightfulness in that?