Using technology to meet the challenges of the direct-to-consumer healthcare revolution

Digital Experiences that Connect with the Next Generation Healthcare Consumer

SymSoft uses open frameworks to make visualizations of health plan performance available on fixed and mobile devices

Problem: With more and more consumers making individual health insurance decisions, they need a better way to understand and compare their choices. Sifting through the myriad of health plan marketing sites and trying to figure it out is daunting. And, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) puts a premium on regulatory agencies providing ease-of-access to health plan performance information to aid the consumer. In other words, Consumers and the California Department of Managed Health Care needed to Connect.

Solution: SymSoft worked with the client to pick the right technology for the job. Then we collaborated with the client to design a responsive digital dashboard accessible to consumers on their preferred device. Then we engineered the solution to scale for the California health insurance market and made it easy for staff to aggregate 1000's of data sets into a user-friendly visualization. Per usual, we designed for "accessibility to all" and meeting the requirements of the American's with Disabilities Act Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Impact: The health plan dashboard connects Californians to critical health plan performance data maintained by the State using their preferred device, making it easier and more convenient to find the right health plan for them and their family.

helping consumers explore data about health care plans in California

Key facts

120 + health plans included in the online tool

25 million Californians protected by DMHC

1,000 + datasets combined and aggregated

Visualizing health plan data to empower consumers

Symsoft built this interactive, visual charts as part of this project to help consumers explore information about health care plans in California. Consumers can compare plans side by side, view premium rate changes, and see health plan trends by viewing complaints and enforcement actions over time. This data-powered dashboard is responsive, adapting to any device, and easily accessible from the main DMHC website. The mobile-friendly tool puts health plan information in a user-friendly, interactive website, empowering California consumers to make more informed decisions about health care plans.

We developed wireframe prototypes to help decide the layout and functionality.Once the wireframes were approved, we translated those into visual mockups based on the layout provided in the wireframes.

Wireframes to visual mockups 

We created wireframes to plan the placement and presentation of the charts.

Those wireframes were then translated to visual mockups which guided the final design.

Technical illustration of a data warehouse for a health care plan data-driven website

Keeping data up-to-date through business intelligence

The data for the dashboard is stored in a data-warehouse created by Symsoft. Data-warehouse is a concept used in Business Intelligence that allows for faster retrieval of data and computation of aggregate numbers. We used Microsoft’s SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) for migrating the data from DMHC’s databases to the new data-warehouse. SSIS uses the concept of Extract, Transform and Load for migrating the data.

  • Extract: This step involves pulling the data from the selected DMHC data sources.
  • Transform: This includes performing transformations on the data such as data cleanup and calculation of aggregates
  • Load: Writing the transformed data into the data-warehouse.

Interactive data visualizations 

Symsoft used the open-source Javascript library Chart.js for creating responsive, interactive graphs for visualizing data. The library provides different kinds of simple, clean and engaging charts such as bar, pie, line, etc. The visuals can be customized to give them a look and feel your website requires. A modular approach was used to develop the chart components so that the same chart components were used throughout the website. SQL’s stored procedures are used to feed the data into these chart components. 

 

Explore California health care plan data on desktop, tablet, and mobile

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