Designing a better provider search experience

The struggle is real when it comes to finding a new doctor. It’s not enough to discover someone who treats your specific health issue and has an office close by. You also have to make sure that doctor accepts your insurance, takes new patients, and has appointments available sooner than six months out.

At Oscar, helping members find doctors and drugs that are covered is a core part of our member experience, one we’re constantly working to improve. Whether a member calls their Concierge team for help, or searches for care options on their own, we want to make it easy and painless to find the right resource at the right time.

Our product team recently spent several months overhauling the provider search feature in our mobile app. Let’s take a look behind the scenes at how business stakeholders, design, and engineering worked together to build a better way for members to find care.

Goals of the redesign

The project began with an internal working group that included participants from the Design, Product, Risk, and Network teams, as well as Oscar’s CEO. This group defined the primary goal of the redesign as making search results more useful for members who use our app to find doctors.

To achieve this goal, the team focused their efforts on revamping search results pages and doctor profiles on mobile to surface the most relevant doctor information, help members compare doctors, and reduce friction in the appointment booking process.

An overview of the new mobile search experience.

“What we really optimized for are the functional aspects of finding a doctor: Locating someone who treats your issue, has an office nearby, and has an appointment in the near future. These are the primary ‘jobs to be done’ from a product perspective,” says Lukasz Mosakowski, Senior Product Manager.

From an engineering perspective, there were two concurrent goals: Move to a new data ingestion system to improve performance, and rebuild the doctor search feature in React Native to streamline the development and testing process. Baptiste Truchot, lead Software Engineer on the project, says, “There’s a huge benefit of building all these things at the same time. Since we needed to write the new results pages from scratch anyway, it was a good time to migrate the backend components as well.”

Research and testing process

Earlier in 2017, Lukasz kicked off the research process by fielding some early interviews with Oscar members. Over the course of his conversations, he learned about what information is most valuable when evaluating a doctor. He also learned that the way people search for doctors is really inefficient, usually involving multiple rounds of googling, web research, and review site trolling.

This first round of user research informed the initial prototype that Gabe Schindler, Product Designer, put together. He and Sahir Jaggi, Product Manager at Oscar, then ran another round of user tests with members.

The main improvements included:

  • The addition of doctor photos/illustrations, member ratings and feedback, and more in-depth booking availability.
  • A more intuitive and explicit navigation between the list and map view.
  • Doctor speciality and reason for visit information added to the top of the page to set the context for a user’s query and remove repetitive info on search results
  • Surfacing the location of a query front and center in the list and map view to reinforce the user’s search context and allow them to easily edit it.
  • Replacing specific (often inaccurate) cost estimates with a dollar sign system.
  • New visual treatments for both the list and map view.
The list view incorporates provider photos, ratings, and more.

“We did a lot of testing to explore the best wayfinding visuals to help members quickly scan the page and internalize the information,” says Gabe. “It’s challenging to show all of this data without overwhelming users, especially on mobile.”

Through the user testing process, the team learned a few key things:

  • Members care more about finding a doctor who’s nearby with availability than picking a “top” provider, at least for basic health care needs.
  • Members like doctor ratings, but want to see specific comments from members as well.
  • Members found dollar scale system to be a confusing indicator of cost, especially in health care. The team decided to cut this and revisit cost estimates in the future.
  • Members like having a more flexible map experience where they can directly adjust their location and see relevant nearby results.
The new map view experience on mobile.

Iterative design & development process

For the new search results pages, the team decided to tackle mobile first since on average, 63% of Oscar’s weekly active users use mobile to access their account.

Gabe says: “We use a really iterative product design and development process. Every new feature we release gives us a stronger foundation to build upon. For example, we started working on our mobile provider search results after we rolled out updated provider profile pages so we could surface some of that new data. Now that our mobile provider search results are live, we can look at how members interact with the feature and incorporate those learnings into the desktop version.”

Our revamped Provider Profiles on mobile.

Working iteratively has also given the design team more time to thoughtfully incorporate new visual brand elements into the desktop and mobile member experiences. Instead of having to overhaul every area of the product at once, the design team has been able to incrementally update the iconography, styles, and UX to ensure that each new feature is optimal.

A more robust filtering experience on mobile.

Moving to React Native

While Gabe and team tested and refined the new design, Baptiste got to work coding the foundation for the new search results front-end in React Native, a JavaScript framework launched in 2014. As with any new tech solution, using it comes with some risk of instability, since the platform is still undergoing rapid change. However, the team believed that, in spite of the potential risks, the benefits would be far greater.

“React Native allows us to build one shared codebase for iOS and Android. For new features, this saves us a ton of time because we don’t have to build everything from the ground up twice,” says Baptiste.

While React Native isn’t the best solution for everyone, it was a fantastic investment for Oscar. Since the data within our apps is so complex, we’ve chosen simple design approach that focuses on usability. Our team doesn’t need a lot of the platform-specific bells and whistles that other consumer apps often employ.

The other benefit of moving to React Native? It allows the engineering team to be much more flexible in terms of assigning and owning projects.

Baptiste says, “Our desktop product is already written in React. Now, we can assign any engineer to work on a feature across both desktop and mobile, instead of having three different people working on the same thing in three different ways. This allows us to move from platform ownership to feature ownership.”

Looking ahead

The team has a long-term vision for the Oscar doctor search experience. This iteration focused on conveying functional information, convenience factors such as availability and location, and member ratings. Going forward, they’ll continue to build on the foundation they’ve laid with cost, clinical quality and additional qualitative member feedback.

A few of the big-ticket items on the docket for Q4 2017 and early 2018 include:

  • Search results sorting. Members will be able to sort their search results by relevance, ratings, and distance. “Sorting will help members conduct searches in their preferred ways while also allowing us to be more transparent about how we’re surfacing doctors,” says Lukasz.
  • Cost estimate ranges, revisited. “While we know cost is an important decision-making factor, we can’t add this information if we don’t do a good job of simply articulating what cost means to a member in a health care context, which is actually quite complicated,” Lukasz says. The team will be testing a few different ideas in Q4 to figure out which approach is most helpful to members.
  • Appointment availability: The team is working to introduce appointment availability estimates into the app for more doctors.
  • Reviews: Member reviews will be surfaced in individual doctor profile pages to provide concrete feedback and additional social proof.

We’re always working to improve the experience for our members and make health care less of a hassle with our technology. Stay tuned for more updates in 2018!


More About Lukasz

Lukasz Mosakowski is a Senior Product Manager at Oscar focused on efficiently routing members to the right care. He leads the evolution of Oscar’s search products and infrastructure. Before Oscar, Lukasz worked at Etsy where he led the marketplace’s structured data strategy to improve search and discovery. Before, he worked on incubating new businesses and products in auto, finance and media at Neo Innovation and as a member of ESPN’s Innovation (Advanced Product Development) Team.

More About Gabe

Gabe Schindler is a Product Designer at Oscar. He focuses on crafting experiences that help Oscar members find and receive the best care for their health needs. Before joining Oscar, Gabe co-founded Nudger, where he led a product team in disrupting the SAP software space by reimagining the task assignment process. He’s also pursued multiple early-stage startups, led design at analytics startup, Flocktag, and worked at Moment Design.

More About Baptiste

Baptiste Truchot is a front-end Technical Lead at Oscar. Before he joined the team, Baptiste launched several startups including One Cash, a money transfer application built on top of Twitter, and Waved, a video messaging application. Before working in tech, Baptiste started his career as a quantitative researcher for BNP Paribas in London, where he built mathematical models to price exotic products.

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