UX Case Study:
How do we decide on a doctor whom we can trust?
Having such an experience myself, I wanted to understand how others set out searching for a doctor in Singapore and design a digital solution that would help.
Background on Singapore’s healthcare system
Singapore’s healthcare system consists of a public and a private system. For common ailments such as a colds, flus or fevers, citizens may go to a General Practitioner (GP) in a private clinic or at a government polyclinic. There are more private clinics scattered across Singapore; most would find them more accessible than a polyclinic. Polyclinics charge a lower consultation fee and tend to have longer waiting times.
For specialized medicine, citizens may get a referral from either a private clinic or polyclinic. Getting one from the polyclinic means they get a specialist doctor assigned to them at a subsidized rate. This would also often mean long waiting times compared to the private specialist route.
Why go for a private doctor?
I conducted interviews with 9 persons who had experience looking for their own doctors. The following are some insights of their motivations and search processes:
Reasons for a private doctor
Avoid long waiting times in the public system
Seeking medical procedure that is not subsidized by the public system, e.g. aesthetic procedures
Seeking a second opinion without having to wait weeks or months.
Dissatisfied with the doctor they were assigned from the subsidized route.
Wanting choice with recommendations by friends and family.
Looking for a doctor (usually private) nearby for emergencies that do not warrant a visit to the A&E during weekends, public holidays, where published hours of clinics are not clear.
Searching for a doctor offline
A strong theme that came out for the process of searching for a doctor was the importance of recommendations from friends and family.
Without resources such as recommendations from close ones or the internet, finding a doctor means a lot of trial and error.
Searching online looks kind of like:
The user research can be summarized with the following personas, Joy and Josh. Joy is our primary persona because she is a higher spender, more willing and able to afford picking a doctor of her own. Josh has less spending power and is really picking a private doctor to get faster service.
With this product, I wanted to take a mobile first approach, to design a site from its most restrictive version first. This would be followed a progressive advancement to its desktop version.
With a rapid sketch prototype, I was able to quickly uncover issues with 3 usability tests:
One user did not realise he could filter results based on insurance coverage as this was not a common filter selection.
Users did not notice relavant blog post in results
"Bedside Manner" as a rating was not comprehensible to lay people.
Uncovered order of importance for Doctor's profile page content
Medium Fidelity Prototype
Iteration of this prototype version addressed issues 3 and 4 above. "Bedside manner" was amended to "Attentiveness". Content for doctor's details page was also reordered as 2 users have said that doctor's profile was most important to them. Prototype link for this is here: https://marvelapp.com/gb28d84
Visual Design Considerations
Issues to address
3 of 5 users did not find the way to filter results through insurance coverage, this feature perhaps needs some sort advertisement on the front page.
Users did not utilise blog posts perhaps due to the task scenario of finding a doctor. Posts may need to be framed differently perhaps, in the doctor's profile page instead if said post was specific to that doctor.
Further refine designs of doctors details page
Design for other results e.g. clinics, conditions, and the associated details page.
Design input of reviews by users.
Design the tablet and desktop version of the site.
Limitations and Challenges
A user commented that she would still looked around for other reviews rather than rely on reviews on one platform. I would hypothesize that SeekDoc would need scale its content and reputation to be comparable to site such as Trip Advisor, in order for user to feel they rely on this site alone.
User research of this project is limited to mostly Singaporeans. It would need to address another group of users - foreigners and medical tourists. I have tried to survey some foreigners, however, the sample size is too small to be conclusive. From this survey, it would seem that if they were digitally savvy, they would search online much the same way as the users I have interviewed.