Understanding consumer audiences
The Maine Health Data Organization (MHDO) sought to enhance the content and the volume of healthcare cost and quality information available to Maine consumers. With funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and in collaboration with another state agency, the Maine Quality Forum, MHDO engaged HSRI to help overhaul its healthcare transparency site.
Working together, and with HSRI partners NORC and Wowza, we combined our understanding and experiences with the complexities of healthcare data with our understanding of the consumer audience. Our goal was to develop a healthcare transparency website that pulled directly from available claims data, but where the information would:
- Be easy to understand
- Match what consumers care about
- Be actionable, relevant and timely
- Contain evidenced-based quality measures
- Help consumers identify high-value options
- Empower consumers to be healthcare advocates
- Be easy to use on computers, tablets and phones
- Be 508 compliant and accessible to all users, regardless of disability status
Getting direct input from consumers and healthcare professionals
When designing CompareMaine, we sought and used input from consumers and healthcare professionals. With MHDO, we convened a Consumer Advisory Group that met regularly to discuss key design elements, best practices, supporting content, and data methodologies. Focus groups and website usability studies were used to vet working prototypes with that group, as well as with other consumers and healthcare professionals, and we used the findings to enhance the user interface, experience and understanding.
We also sought input from healthcare professionals, administrators at healthcare facilities, and payers. All were given the opportunity to review the data for the site and contact us with any questions, concerns or corrections before it went live.
CompareMaine was one of the first state-based public reporting websites in the country that provides standardized costs for selected services, leveraging data from the state’s all-payer claims database. Since the launch in October 2015, several new facilities and procedures have been added to the website, as well as enhancements to improve the overall user experience and understandability.
CompareMaine has had more than 210,000 pageviews. Support from the state of Maine, as well as from healthcare facilities and professionals, have helped build awareness of the site, the addition of new procedures, and momentum for continued healthcare transparency reform in Maine.