Category Archives: Doctor ePortal

Thoughts: Who Health App Companies Should Target — Get Doc’s On Board

Whenever I evaluate a business, regardless of industry, my first few questions are always centered around:


1) Industry: What is the size of the addressable market? Who are the major players in the space? Is the market relatively fragmented? What are the near term growth or expansion opportunities?

2) Sales: How does this business make money? (i.e. free application that gets paid based on advertisement revenue, software as a service, subscription model, paid upgrades, etc.)

3) Audience: Who is paying for this software / buying this item and how difficult is it to acquire each additional user?


In addition to the WSJ article, Mitchell released a poll last week that Baby Boomers are more likely to download and purchase health apps when recommended by a doctor. This of course sounds very reasonable, but should also send a lightbulb to healthcare companies regarding who they should market to — get doctors on board, and soon patient users will follow.

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HealthTap: Old vs. New Website

What a difference a week can make! I started this post before my birthday and came back to an entirely redesigned HealthTap website! Lucky for you, we can take an in-depth look at the design changes to the website. This will be a long post, but stay with me.

As you read on, look for a couple key things: (i) the site shifts to a more “mature” design and targets a more “mature” audience, (ii) there is a clear path for HealthTap to make money, and (iii) the design keeps the social media aspect of the site.

Let’s check out the OLD first, and then the new.


1) Jump In: Very easy to interact with the website.
2) About Us: Video about company or customer referrals would be great here.
3) Sign up: Placement not in-line with box 1 bothers the eye.
4) About us: Make this interactive; if you have 10,000 licensed physicians, maybe scroll through their photos or expand this section to have more detail. This makes it look like there are only 10 doctors.


1) Simple Nomenclature: Simple is better!
2) Wayfinding: Help people understand where they are and where to read next. Interesting that they decided to go with a more “follow the path” route rather than a straight down block format. Make the gray line a shade darker so the eye can actually follow the path.
3) Video should be on front page. Make the customer do less searching to find it!

Also note, there is great uniformity in the structure of all the pages, making it easy to follow.


1) Eyetracking: where does the eye go first? Every page has a sign up place, so why not make this part of the page instead of looking like an annoying pop-up? Having a sign-up section on every page is also good for data analytics. HealthTap can see which pages lead to clicking on “sign up” the most.
2) Wording: Key choice of using the word “member” and not customer, client, or patient.


1) Consistency: You have to give it to them for consistency – the sign up bar is everywhere…even on the sign up page!
2) Call To Action: Good placement of information on the app. More downloads of the app will mean more user compliance to the site.
3) Facebook Connect: Facebook connect seems to be everywhere and it’s a good thing to have. However, I’d like to know what percent of users actually go this route. I’d venture to guess—not many. With limited information on how question postings work, and no sentence telling me my information won’t be posted directly to Facebook, I am cautious. I would rather not have an embarrassing question be posted on my wall like a Spotify song.


1) User Map: Always important to tell your customers where they are in the sign up process, especially if it is a lengthy one.
2) Level Up!: A points system is interesting. However HealthTap isn’t a game and incorporating a “gaming” aspect may not work well. I wonder if you can buy “points,” wouldn’t be a bad idea.


Why is this page so user friendly and familiar? Because likely you’ve already seen this! Using conceptual models users are already familiar with will make users more easily adapt to your site and HealthTap does this well.

1) Facebook: Taking the activity feed idea and making it pertinent to your health
2) Twitter: Follow doctors like you would on twitter, similar to friending on Facebook
3) LinkedIn/Gaming: Similar to LinkedIn’s “profile completeness” percentage

Success Metrics: HealthTap is tracking (for a site this sophisticated they must be!) the average “ask a doctor” requests per person, number of doctor “follows”/person, and amount of health points/person. These success metrics will help HealthTap assign goals for customer consistency and retention. This data can also be used to encourage doctors and programs to sign up. Metrics are very important and all websites should have them. Data collection is often the most important thing at the end of the day.



1) Tiny Text: “About” is tiny and lonely in plain text. I would make it a bubble like Log In and Sign Up and put it on the far right of the heading bar.
2) Video: Thank you! The video to learn more about HealthTap pops up when you click Learn More. This is also a brand new video! Instead of popsicle stick, ambiguous test tube looking people, cartoon people are used.
3) Scrolling: Questions and answers scroll at the bottom and you can click on them to see the full question and answers. This is much more descriptive and helpful!


1) Static Bar: The static bar looks more professional and still catches your eye at the top of every page.
2) Blocking: You can see how distinctly blocked this is—the flowy path is no longer used.


The sign up pages are much cleaner and the colors are more mature and subdued.

1) Four simple steps instead of five:
     i) Still Improve Your Case: A tiny bit of background is needed
     ii) Personalize Your Answers: Ask as many specific questions for doctors as you would like
     iii) Find the Best Doctors: More to follow and the interface is a lot cleaner
     iv) Connect Directly With Physicians: You can search for and connect with your own doctor
2) Duplication: Notifies the member how far along they are even though the top part does as well. This infers that HealthTap generally looses some interest along the way and is now more focused on getting the member through the activation steps.


Don’t fix what is not broken.

1) Facebook
2) Twitter
3) LinkedIn/Gaming

I’m a big fan of HealthTap because I think it can give me a better indication of what my aliments are, before I go to see a doctor. Also, for a fee, I can send a doctor a specific and direct message (HIPAA compliant and private). Technology is surely changing the world.

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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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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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