Introducing change into the healthcare and insurance world
When Community Health Options (“Health Options”), a nonprofit health insurance company serving Maine, asked Freeport Metrics (“FM”) to help realize their vision of doing health insurance differently, we accepted the challenge. As a startup, Health Options had to get up and running quickly. This required it to quickly implement many different software applications from third-party vendors, which brought numerous technical challenges and limitations. We were engaged to help Health Options improve the technology they depend on to support their operations and users.
User-focused healthcare technology solution
Our first assignment was to rebuild the company website, which we quickly realized also meant developing a new member account system and dashboard. We started our initial engagement by narrowing the primary focus to one specific audience type: health insurance customers. Then we talked to users and stakeholders about their pain points, needs, and expectations. With this information in hand, we journey mapped the Health Options customer experience and brainstormed ideas for improvement.
Using an iterative design methodology, our user experience (“UX”) team presented the results of the design phase to Health Options in a series of collaborative review workshops. We facilitated a content inventory of the existing website, after which we provided Health Options with a list of suggestions and changes. Our teams also utilized an iterative Agile-based approach to the development phase. We are happy to say that we successfully launched the website and portal in time for the Federally Facilitated Marketplace annual enrollment period.
Meeting highly regulated business needs
Healthcare and insurance systems in the US must meet rigorous standards, creating multiple challenges for the FM team. One of the most crucial is HIPAA compliance. Fortunately, we have experience in this arena. To ensure HIPAA compliance, the team developed a plan that would implement the proper code structure and security requirements from the start. This approach eliminated the need for rework and resulted in significant cost savings for Health Options.
Meeting the accessibility needs of all website users was another challenge. Our UX Design and Quality Assurance teams leveraged their experience to ensure that the designs would accommodate users with physical disabilities, including vision impairment. Accordingly, we designed and tested the site according to WCAG 2.1 level AA standards, which Health Options specified as a project requirement.
Healthcare and health insurance in the United States are complicated and highly frustrating for consumers. Technology has the potential to help create a better user experience but can also add even more complexity. The key to striking the right balance is keeping the user experience as the central focus.