10(ish) Considerations for the Find-a-Doctor Experience

Find a Doc

While some health insurers view their member Find-a-Doctor tools as a fairly simple transaction, there are many considerations to creating an experience that supports and empowers members, while reducing phone calls and unnecessary out-of-network costs for the health insurer and the member. Mad*Pow has years of expertise designing and deploying online provider search tools for major carriers. Following are 10 (ish – we couldn’t stop ourselves) points for companies considering a refresh of this critical part of the member experience:

  1. Start with the ID card. Consider:
  • Does the card have clear and obvious instructions regarding how to locate a doctor?
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to remind the member to use the provider search tool and where to find it; then, meet members where they are with options like a virtual ID card they can save to their mobile wallet.
  1. Avoid log-in lockout. Consider:
  • How quickly are members transitioned from the public website to secure?
  • Consider offering a logged-out experience as well, since many people rarely visit their health care insurer’s website and may not remember their log-in credentials. This helps members complete their task without abandoning it due to a lost password.
  • Bonus: Don’t knock the Zoc. Consider:
    • Does your provider search tool provide an equivalent experience when compared to third-party sites like ZocDoc?
    • Delight members with an easy-to-use, accurate search tool. If your company doesn't want to build it, work with third parties who can.
  1. “Show me you know me.” Consider:
  • Does your search tool use what you know about the member to help refine their provider search?
  • Provide a highly tailored experience for the member by pairing your existing data with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Bonus: Speak my language. Consider:
    • Does your search tool include filters for languages spoken by the provider?
    • Acknowledge the importance of a member’s preferred language by allowing them to filter for it during their provider search.
  1. Anticipate financial questions. Consider:
  • Does the search provide estimated cost information for visits and procedures associated with each type of provider?
  • Prepare members with information about potential health expenses from their very first visit with a provider to future procedures.
  1. Suggest more affordable alternatives. Consider:
  • Does your search tool include related provider types that might be more cost-effective (e.g., searches for back surgeons include “suggested alternatives” such as chiropractors)?
  • Help members make a connection between the types of care available and their potential cost (e.g., cost of back surgery versus treatment for back pain via chiropractic care).
  1. Promote telehealth options (and not just during pandemics). Consider:
  • Does the search include results for telehealth when appropriate?
  • Normalize telehealth visits for members who may be unfamiliar with or slow to adopt telehealth options.
  1. Don’t miss the condition. Consider:
  • Does the search offer chronic health condition support based on the searched provider type (e.g., do search results for endocrinologists also include information about diabetes condition management)?
  • Offer relevant digital health options alongside provider options.
  1. Make it easy. Consider:
  • Does the search designate which providers are accepting new patients, and then show available appointment times for each provider?
  • Integrate systems so members can pre-filter for available providers, avoiding frustration and wasted time sorting through unacceptable options.
  • Bonus: Make the most of first impressions. Consider:
    • Does your search provide high-quality, professional photos of each provider, as well as accurate location information?
    • Build trust and perceived value by serving up confirmed addresses, phone numbers, websites, etc. for each provider in your network, along with a good photo.
  1. Book in one tap. Consider:
  • Can the member book an appointment directly from the provider search website?
  • Overcome barriers to accessing care by making the appointment booking process seamless for members.
  1. Plan for interruptions. Consider:
  • Does the website make the member start over with each new provider search?
  • The goal is to store the member’s query information so they can continue their search at their convenience, or even follow up with the member digitally to head off future calls and member frustration.
  1. Focus on accessibility. Consider:
  • Did you know that health insurers can be sued for inaccessible websites?
  • Build compliant websites with search tools that help members easily find the help they need with the care they deserve.

Mad*Pow collaborates with insurers to create a seamless experience for members that not only helps them locate a doctor who meets their preferences, but directs them to the best treatment at the best price, answering their questions and concerns along the way. Too many provider search tools are under-invested and hold outdated provider information that members learn not to trust – driving more volume to your call center. Mad*Pow can help clean up your data and demonstrate that it is fresh by modernizing the design of your website.

We believe that members deserve a provider search experience as good as (or better than) any online shopping experience. Imagine members using a provider search tool to:

  • “Favorite” a provider
  • Access providers’ credentials and ratings
  • See which providers are recommended by their friends

And to think, each of these opportunities starts with a member picking up their insurance ID card.

Contributed by
Amy Heymans
Job Title
Founder and Chief Experience Officer
James Christie
Job Title
Principal, Experience Design