HealthAware is a responsive website that helps users track and fact-check their health care expenses. Upon receiving a medical bill in the mail, this tool aids in the process of reviewing those bills to ensure that users are being charged fare rates for the services rendered.
In 2010, I was involved in a motorcycle accident which left me with one broken wrist, one sprained wrist, broken bones in my foot, bruises from head to toe and severe road rash. Although I had health insurance, I spent close to $50,000 out-of pocket on medical bills related to the accident over over a two and a half year span. My insurance company tried to double-bill me for a handful of procedures which added up to $7,000 and I had to hire a lawyer to convince my insurance company to drop the charges. At the time, I was making $25,000 a year. This costly and painful experience directly inspired HealthAware.
We spend nearly one out of every five dollars on health care.
The United States suffers from the complex issue of an inefficient health insurance structure, resulting in health care that is unaffordable for many in the nation. The Medical Billing Advocates of America estimate roughly eight out of ten medical bills contain errors. It has been estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.
Individuals who do have health care coverage don't always feel confident in the level of coverage provided and those without insurance are unable to necessarily afford essential, sometimes life-saving procedures and treatments. On the whole, coverage provided to individuals in the Unites States costs more per procedure than the cost of care itself and there is no clear system in place to enforce procedure costs for private insurance companies and hospitals.
This mind map was created as a first attempt to get information out on the topic. Initial ideas were written on stickie notes, then organized around subtopics as a way of better understanding content.
HealthAware is the first publicly available educational, medical tool to enable Americans to review, fact-check and track their health care bills for correct procedures and fair market-rate costs. Rather than simply identifying errors, we go one step further by giving users the tools to draft, send and save professional letters of dispute to their health insurance carrier. Our goal is to enable every man and woman to quickly gain an understanding of what their health care expenses do cost, as compared to what those expenses should cost. Armed with this knowledge, our users can feel confident in their communications with insurance provider, which they can easily track and access through our site.
Mapping out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats allowed me to identify internal and external factors that might affect this project.
Data for preferred device usage determined by user testing.
Goals for this round of testing included high-level organizational questions, as well as determining interest in a variety of feature builds. 54 individuals participated in card sorting, interviews and email surveys which helped determine site structure, navigation and feature prioritization.
63% Review bill for correct billing amounts
63% Understand procedures costs
60% Negotiate overcharges with my insurance company
57% Track health care receipts and expenses
50% Review bill for correct medical procedures
47% Compare procedure costs around the globe
43% Find hospitals with more reasonable prices for procedures
40% Interactive timeline with all healthcare expenses
37% Track appointments
Profile > Timeline
Dispute a Bill > Remove Duplicate Charges
Compare > Interactive Map (Active State)
Search > Advanced Search Results
Clearly displaying comparison results between user bills and Medicare costs was crucial to the success of this project. Much time was dedicated to determining with type of chart would be most successful in solving this design challenge. The ultimate solution resulted in a clear visual comparison paired with quantitive data. Calculations include the dollar difference between bills, percentage difference, as well as some explanatory text to provide context. This data was followed by two clear calls to action in order to assist in the user journey.
Exploratory sketches with data comparison solutions
Final output when user bill costs more than Medicare costs
Final output when user bill equals Medicare costs
Final output when user bill costs less than Medicare costs
Although the United States struggles with a health care system that is unaffordable and inefficient, HealthAware provides a solution to one aspect of this issue. HealthAware effectively gives Americans the ability to review their medical bills for correct procedures and costs, then helps them take action towards quickly correcting those errors. By using our site, users can gain a solid understanding of fair market rates for healthcare procedures.