In a given year, over 25% of U.S. adults experience mental illness, and more than 60% of Americans with mental health needs do not receive adequate care. Those who struggle with mental health issues may hesitate to seek help and find it challenging to navigate a complex system.
How do we simplify the process for members looking for mental health care?
Our research showed that the majority of members did not know how to begin searching for help and had little awareness of the benefits available to them.
People seeking mental health care simply did not know where to start. They were overwhelmed by information and confused by the terminology.
There was a major gap in health literacy and our current digital experiences were not meeting their needs in the moment.
Additionally, as evidenced by search data taken from our provider directory product, members had trouble understanding the difference between types of providers. The majority of users jumped immediately to searching for higher-cost provider types, such as psychiatrists, when their needs could have more quickly and easily met with a therapist or coaching program.
We saw an opportunity to engage our low-acuity members with actionable content that validated their concerns, connected them to the right resources, and empowered them to make smart decisions about their care resulting in lower costs and improve clinical outcomes.
“When you’re talking about mental health people think it’s this huge, overwhelming task, especially if you’re dealing with anxiety and depression. So the more you simplify that, I think that’s so important.”
We facilitated several design thinking sessions with stakeholders and clinical partners to align on these goals:
Guide members to benefits:
Promote the right level and modality of care before they are in crisis.
Improve on speed to care:
Engage members with virtual help which can be instant or less than 3 days compared to traditional methods. Waiting for a therapist appointment can take weeks or months.
There is low trust that the employer or insurer has the member’s best interests at heart. We wanted to engage members in a human way with simple language vs using clinical terms.
Less then 40% of people utilize more than 3 therapy visits which results in inadequate care. This is due to a combination of factors including cost and fit with providers.
We introduced a behavioral health benefit matching tool on our member benefit portal.
This tool helps members by:
Evaluating a member’s immediate need: We worked with psychiatrists and clinical partners to presented members with evidence-based screening questions in plain language that members could understand.
Recommending care options: Based on the answers, the tool generates a ranked list of benefit recommendations, such as coaching, counseling, or therapy, along with information on how to access those benefits.
Clear intentions and user autonomy
Our UX strategy for this effort places clarity and user autonomy at the forefront.
This informed interaction decisions such as allowing the member to skip to see all their benefits at any time during the flow.
Human-centered design choices
The user is introduced to the tool by a real person – our clinical partner Dr. Yusra Benhalim – who guides the user with compassionate language backed by expert knowledge.
This helped to humanize the experience and create trust.
Accessible and friendly UI elements
We wanted to create a delightful, frictionless user experience. We incorporated large buttons, friendly colors and light, airy layouts to make the tool feel inviting and easy to use.
In testing, users overwhelming scored the tool as “easy to use” and “clear.”
A clear path forward for members
The results screen went through several interations as we continually tested both content and UI to land on a design that is clear, yet provides the right level of detail a member needs to take the next step.
Within the first 6 months of launching the MVP, it led to an increase in NPS scores and overall health literacy through educational content:
Increased utilization of benefits: We saw an increase in engagement in benefit products, including virtual therapy programs, self-guided courses, and Employee Assistance Program resources.
Lowered time to care: Members were able to find and engage with benefits that provided immediate care vs. waiting weeks for an appointment with a traditional provider. Engagement with these benefits increased
Addressed the caregiver gap: During testing, we found that many members were looking for mental health benefit options on behalf of someone else, so we incorporate that use case into the experience.
Connected members directly to the right care: Some members tested noted that they wish they had something like this to help guide them when they first started looking for therapy.
“There are certain websites that just kind of slam you with resource after resource and just kind of like it’s overwhelming. So narrowing it down with something like that, I think is amazing”