Monthly Archives: June 2012

News Breakdown: The Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that the Obamacare mandate that requires almost everyone in the US  to buy health insurance (or pay a penalty on tax returns) is constitutional.

What this means for you: Virtually everyone in the US will need to have health insurance, or pay a tax penalty. The tax is in effect starting 2014.

The Supreme Court’s rationale: Congress has the authority to levy taxes. Therefore, Congress has the authority to pose a tax penalty on those who do not buy health insurance.

Looks like Norwest’s bet on GoHealth was well diligenced!

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Event Summary: Social Media “Likes” Healthcare Webinar

eHealth Initiative and PwC put together an interesting webinar today on social media uses in healthcare and how customers and practitioners are reacting to it.

A copy of the report and slides can be found here: and

Below are some interesting slides from the Chart Pack.

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GoHealth: Easier Than Booking a Flight to Vegas

You can comparison shop flights, hotels, and shoes, so why not health insurance? This week the Supreme Court will likely announce their ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare). GoHealth, which just received a $50 million equity investment from Norwest Equity Partners, is betting on a favorable ruling, meaning that it hopes millions of Americans will soon be looking for health insurance, and of course, the best deal.

1) Panels: Three easy steps are laid out on the homepage – enter information, compare quotes, and look at individual plan details. The application process is left out of these three steps and should be put in as step #4: Select and Apply for Health Insurance. It is after all, why we are here.

2) Get Quotes: This is slightly misleading, as I actually need to give them my gender, DOB, smoking preference, zip, and coverage start date before I can get a quote. This button should read “START” or “GO” and on the next slide (image below), the “GO” button should be renamed “GET QUOTE.”

3) Stats: Helpful to put that 2 million customers have successfully used the site – certainly takes away some of my anxiety!

1) Chat: The site does a good job of making you feel taken care of. You can chat with a specialist at any time.

2) Get Quote: You filled in your information so “Get Quote” makes more sense than “Go.”

3) Reminder: Great reminder, saves me time as well knowing that I will get the same deal anywhere.

1) Preferences: As you know by now, I love easy to use preference/relevance sidebars and options!

2) Definitions: This is very helpful in reminding users what deductibles and copays are and how they affect your plan. Puts customers at ease physiologically as well, knowing that the 2 million other users probably also didn’t know what a deductible was when they first used the site.

3) Details: Details are very helpful and you can get brochures on additional information.

4) Compare: After selecting a few plans (up to four), I can view them side-by-side, sort of like comparing stats on different models of laptops. Also as soon as I selected the option to compare, a chat message appeared from a sales agent, asking me if I had any questions or concerns in making my selection. This is a great point of entry for a sales agent since presumably I am close to narrowing down a choice and need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

1) Competitive Confusion: If you go to you see a similar page as GoHealth, with the same purpose of selling health insurance. It looks like GoHealth uses the eHealthInsurance backend application platform and the logo placement must be part of the contract. It is a little unfortunate as I immediately went to the other site and found their page just as welcoming and not very differentiated.

2) Make it Easy: Always draw out the path to success for the client. Each step filled makes it harder for them to turn back.

The concept of this site is straightforward and easy to use, with search options and comparison views that are reminiscent of popular consumer websites such as It will be interesting to see how things shake out with the Supreme Court this week, and it could mean a big pay day for GoHealth. Stay tuned.

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iCouch: Therapy Without Leaving Your Home

iCouch is a web therapy site where you can find a therapist with specific expertise in your particular issue (i.e. anxiety, depression, eating disorder) and speak with him/her using video chat.

For the record, I am a huge fan of speaking to someone in person, especially in our digital age, but when the timing or situation can’t be helped, the advent of web conferencing can most certainly help people in need.

1) Too Big: The front of the homepage looks like this. A few key words flash across the screen, but these words take up way too much real estate, without explaining to me how exactly the site works.

2) Too Small: The place where I can choose my therapist is too small. This text needs to be much larger and more prominent. A recurring theme of this site is font that is too small.

1) Video First: Remember how excited you got in grade school when your science teacher rolled the TV/VCR through the door and you knew it would be a Bill Nye day and not a stare-at-the-blackboard day. It is in our nature to love videos – think about how quickly YouTube grew in viewership. A less than two minute video is worth my time and this video needs to be visible on the front of the site, replacing the first static panel (1).

2) Longer is Not Better: This home page is too long – all the information about the site is crammed down one page.  Part of the user experience is to give users a framework they know. Users are used to clicking on links to learn more about a site or a product, not scrolling forever down a page. This long page has an opening slide show, a video on how to use the site, a section describing why the site was created, information on an app you can download if you are not ready for therapy, and finally a section detailing press. Create a tool bar in the header and make each section into a separate page.

1) Expensive Real Estate: Either make the font larger or add tidbits that are important to a client including the therapist’s a) spoken languages, b) place of education, and c) years of experience. All this information can be found once you select the individual therapist, but it’s good to know especially if there are specifics you are looking for.

2) Rank by Relevance: Again, being able to rank searches is important and makes the site feel more tailored to the users needs.

1) Fitting on One Page: There is something to be said about fitting everything on one page, so the user can clearly see what the next step is. This site has two consistent issues, one is font size and the other is forcing the user to scroll down to see pertinent information.

I can see iCouch gaining traction especially with people who travel often and for those who have initially made personal contact with a therapist and can’t make all their in-person meetings.

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Withings: “Hey Everyone, Come and See How Good I Look!”

Withings is a body scale that automatically transmits your weight, BMI, and lean/fat mass to your smartphone or web browser when used. Investment banking added a few extra pounds to my frame, and Withings is tracking my progress to getting back to my “normal” weight. Also, it’s a “to catch your roommate’s boyfriend using your bathroom” device.

1) The Good: Clean webpage laying out where to find more information regarding the scale and a clear path to making the purchase.

2) The Bad: Here is where being exact does the page a disservice. Does this mean that the Withings application doesn’t work on the first gen iPad, or the latest iPad? What about android tablets? Wait, what about my Kindle? Let’s just call it “Mobile Devices and Tablets.”

3) The Ugly: Not only do these generic stock photos look out of place, but there is green highlighting in the first quote on the left, and the photo on the right has to do with height, not weight. Get rid of the photos, and make a side bar or area below (1) with customer quotes and recommendations in a clean format on a white background.

1) Unassigned Data: Hmm, I don’t think I weighed 171.3lbs on a random day in March. But, I do like how the scale picks up unassigned data points and gives me the option to a) assign them, or b) delete them.

2) Tool Bar: Text should be larger given that there are only three options and larger text won’t crowd the space. You can barely see that there is an option to share your weight with your family or weightloss buddies.

3) Hidden Boxes: There is no way to delete the Objectives and All Measures boxes in the background. “X”ing out the front box will make everything disappear. There needs to be a fix so that I can either hide/see the background or the foreground boxes.

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Ringadoc: Good Concept, Site Leaves me Unconvinced

Ringadoc allows you to call a doctor at any time and is mostly geared to those without insurance or have an immediate, afterhours problem. You pay a flat fee for one call or a bundled price for multiple calls. The doctors can even prescribe basic drugs. Unfortunately for those with insurance, there is no copay discount. Ringadoc is currently only available in California (Beta testing in other states).

1) Text Size: This is what you see when you go to the “Learn More” tab. How can I learn more when I can’t actually see the text because it is so small? You have to click each individual Learn More link to get to more substantial information. Make this more user friendly by increasing the tiny font and bulleting the key points under each segment.

2) The Missing Box: How do I pay? To find out the pricing, I have to click “Sign up now!” There should be a place right up front where the pricing structure is listed. Otherwise, customers may be turned off by the amount of searching it takes to find the pricing structure and leave the site feeling as if they were about to get duped.

1) Choose: Sadly, nothing happens when you hit “choose” except that the circle to the left gets filled in. Make the customer feel like they are choosing more than a dot – change the color of the choose box or light up a border around the larger box – just put away the dorky black dot.

2) Question on Pricing: So you need a doctor ASAP and you have insurance…too bad, you still have to pay $39, even if your typical copay is $20. I wonder what research the Company did on picking the per doctor call pricing of $35.

1) Too High Tech: The problem with trying to be too high tech is that there isn’t a place where I can type a sentence describing my medical issue. I’d rather type in my problem than say it verbally or use a webcam, especially if I am in a place with poor / slow service.

2) What’s Missing: At the very least, there should be a dropdown menu with aliments to chose from such as allergies, pain, coughing, etc.

For those of you who want to give the service a try, the code “ringafreedoc” will get you one free trial.

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ZocDoc lets you find and schedule an appointment with a doctor in your area who accepts your insurance. The entire searching for and booking an appointment process can take as little as 5 minutes. The website is often referred to as “OpenTable” for doctor’s appointments. How easy is that?

Today’s mashup will focus on small ways for ZocDoc and to learn from each other.

1) and 2) Direction: Let the site direct the consumer down one path. Currently, you can click the area surrounded by box 1 as well as fill out the information in box 2. Going via box 1 leads you to the same place as box 2 but the web user has to still enter the box 2 information. The site should streamline the user by disabling the link in box 1.

1) Rank by Relevance: Take up the listing model by, and add a place to choose your doctor by “relevance.” Customers should be able to search by proximity, relevance to illness, rating, etc. Right now, there is only a search for language and gender and you’ll have to do the rest by eye-balling the list.
2) Example: Why is Dr. Khalilnejad second when she isn’t even an allergist, which I specifically requested for? That’s like asking for a book and only getting magazines in your search.
1) Cell Phone Verification: Most people have cell phones. Obviously those who don’t have cell phones with texting capabilities cannot use ZocDoc. ZocDoc should have an alternative way to confirm reservations, perhaps via email + home phone.
2) Learning: Incorporate an option so that people (who want this option) can request a text code to enter before using the listed credit card. Amazon’s “one-click” option will be the death of me.
1) Appointment Download: Very essential.

Amazon, Zappos, and the like: Please implement an option where I can download onto my calendar a note/reminder on the day I expect to get my package. Please put in the appointment reminder my tracking number as well so I don’t have to dig through the Amazon website or my email for it.

And for those of you curious about the revenue model for the business, doctor’s pay $250/month to be part of ZocDoc. In August 2011, ZocDoc raised $50 million from DST Global (adding to the $20 million the Company had previously received from Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures). Although undisclosed, the business is now supposedly valued at around $700 million.

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InsideTracker: All We Need is Your Blood

InsideTracker helps athletes optimize performance by testing their blood for biomarkers and then providing plans to help more fully engage those markers. Turns out you don’t need to be a super athlete to join the program, although for now the website is clearly branded towards marathon runners and ironman athletes.

1) Mix  / Matched Page:  Like the Withings site, the bottom half of this homepage just doesn’t match with the top half of the page.  Even the font and spacing doesn’t look the same. The colors are dull and plain and less exciting.

2) Confusion Central: This is the most important of the three boxes because it describes what the customer needs to initially do. However looking at this I have no idea how to give them my blood and what kind of plan I get afterwards. Looking at Step 2, the confusion continues as I wonder what is the purpose of mushrooms, the sun, and a boatload of pills?

1) Replace With This: This “Tour” page should be on the front page, replacing the entire (1) box. Clicking through, the 5 slides track the process of how the program works. This is easier to understand and more descriptive. From these slides I know that my blood will be taken at LabCorp. I actually thought from glancing at the home page that I would have to take my own blood and send it off to the Company, as I did with my spit for 23andMe.

2) What’s Missing: Tab with customer reviews and raves – for a Company that needs my blood, I need to see that athletes love this and that this program works. Recommendations need to have a dedicated page, more than just a few sentences on the front page.

1) Checking Out: Step 1 is filling out my name and DOB, and Step 2 is giving out my credit card information and making the purchase. Really? It’s not even clear to me how this plan will / can optimize my biomarkers yet. Check out should never be Step 2. Step 2 should be an extra page selling the customer again with why they are purchasing the product, solidifying the reason why they are spending $300 or $500 and making the customer less prone to second guessing and ultimately not purchasing the product/service.

2) Guarantee: Is there a guarantee on any of this? Any money back? Maybe an extra month or a free third blood test? Having a guarantee might not only get more people to sign up, but more people = more great reviews and customer quotes.

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