Treatment Cost Calculator
One of the marquee features of Laguro is searching for and finding dentists that meet the user’s preferences, such as location, ratings, specialties, and accepted insurances. This is a project I worked on for 3 weeks with two engineers, the business team, and the CTO. From research, UX, visual design, and prototyping, I was fortunate to own the problem, lead the project with the help of the team, and ship the feature on April 30th, 2019.
Problems and Challenges
Searching for dentists on Laguro is different from booking an appointment or making a reservation through other search platforms because it allows users to browse and compare the skillsets and traits of individual dentists rather than the dental clinic itself.
During the user studies, we learned that users (patients) have a difficulty choosing a dentist to book an appointment with because of the uncertainty of how much certain procedures would cost. We spoke with Cindy, one of the patients at one of our partner clinics, and she revealed that she had been looking for a dentist to remove her wisdom teeth. She delayed visiting any dentist continuously for three years because she was not sure how much it would cost, and she had no immediate pain or discomfort to justify seeing the dentist.
Cindy is not alone in sharing this sentiment. According to the ADA, nearly 2 out of 3 Americans do not visit the dentist regularly because of the lack of transparency when it comes to the cost of procedures, regardless of income level, age, and dental benefits.
In other words, people don't go to the dentist until they really have to go due to pain or discomfort because they are not sure how much the visit will end up costing before seeing the dentist.
By American Dental Association (ADA)
Showing Estimated Procedure Prices
To address this concern, we decided to build a tool that allows our users to see a particular dentist's price list for procedures, while also accounting for estimates in insurance coverage. Another benefit for our users was that this allowed them to "shop around" for dentists based on procedure prices before committing to one, all from the comfort of their home.
Accounting for Users' Insurance Benefits in Treatment Cost Calculator
One of the key features of the Treatment Cost Calculator is the ability to enter insurance information to receive the most accurate price estimate based on the individual's particular insurance coverage.
Dental insurance eligibility and coverage varies drastically between different insurance companies and even between individuals receiving benefits from the same insurance company. Because of this complexity, no one has built such a tool that allows users to get an idea of their out-of-pocket or co-payment costs before receiving treatment.
In order to achieve this goal, our team built a database with hundreds of thousands of procedures, pricing, and various levels of coverage from all of the major dental insurance companies. The design challenge here was to present this information in a friendly and comprehendible way that was not overbearing for our users.
To achieve this, we decided to identify the most common procedures, and group those procedures into treatment bundles.* Through this, we were able to bundle individual procedure codes into one treatment bundle to help our users understand the real unit cost for a procedure.
* It is rare for a treatment to simply be one procedure. Almost all procedures have multiple procedure codes that, when bundled, add up to what we would call, for example, a wisdom tooth extraction.
Aside from the users being unsure about the out-of-pocket cost, we defined other painpoints.
➭ Unfamiliar with price estimation calculator
➭ Unsure of the breakdowns of their insurance coverage
➭ Hard to shop around, or compare prices among other dentists
➭ Every dentist has different insurances they are in-network with
User & Business goals
The user goal was to allow users to know what certain common procedures would cost, whereas the business goal was to build trust with users and guide them to book an appointment.
If the goals have been met, we can help users choose a dentist without worrying about the uncertainty of how much that appointment will end up costing.
We broke down the problem into three different major objectives and worked in parallel. These "how might we" questions helped us guide our experimentation and whiteboard brainstorms.
How might we allow users to compare prices among dentists?
Exploration & Strategy
How might we give a clear breakdown of the user's coverage?
How might we encourage users to book an appointment?
To understand the nature of price listings, we studied the interaction tools of other platforms such as Kayak and Expedia.
Studying Insurance Coverage and Fee Schedules
We worked with dentists to analyze their contracted fee schedules for different insurance companies.
Understanding Target Users
Redefining our "who we are designing for" helped us understand the needs of the patients when searching for dentists.
While iterating and brainstorming the page, we looked into Laguro's style guide and UI components to keep consistency.
Since the Treatment Cost Calculator is a new feature and there were not any pre-established patterns from Laguro, we explored a variety of design prototypes to find opportunities to make calculated estimated coverage easier to use and understand.
Iterations & Validating Assumptions
The continuous feedback and testing with the design team, marketing team, engineering team and a group of dentists helped us realize that showing the out-of-pocket cost as well as the original price would better deliver the breakdown.
We also saw an opportunity to use this feature to encourage users to sign up and book an appointment.
The collaboration with the teams and the dentists helped us organize the insurance coverage statistics and validate our assumptions significantly.
After the first launch of the Treatment Cost Calculator, we learned that having no delays or feedback steps gave users an uncertainty of the price they received. After a few tests, we decided to add delays and blank states between each interaction to give users the feeling that something was being calculated.
A Place for Dentists to Customize Their Prices
Dentists are asked to add their in-network insurance, but it was important to give them an option to personalize their prices. For instance, an orthodontist would raise their price for braces related procedures. We approached this by creating a tool to adjust procedure bundle pricw from 50% to 200% of the average cost (100%) we set.
Designing with Data Points
To identify in-network price coverage estimates, we worked closely with a group of dentists. We looked into the fee schedules of the five most common insurances and 'bundled' common procedure codes to reveal the true cost for a procedure. This helped us create a more general prediction for what the most common procedures would be.
Due to the success of the Treatment Cost Calculator launch, we decided to link this feature with the homepage survey, where users answer their preference of the appointment. When the user submits the survey, they will automatically see a list of dentists with the estimated out-of-pocket costs according to each individual's insurance coverage.
Product Manager: Daniel Takabayashi
Engineers: Willian Leite, Ricardo Raphael Joson,
Dentists: Will Choi, Andrew Doan, Ngan Tran
Copy: Nicole Lam