Need some advice: UX user research with Doctors

5 years ago from

Hi guys,

me and a friend want to build a new web product in the private healthcare industry, which on one side will help patients to book affordable doctor appointments and on the other side it will help doctors get more patients. A sort of a ZocDoc but with a twist.

As I am in charge of design, I'd like to do some UX user research with doctors, as this is the area where we have the most unverified assumptions. None of us is a doctor or know any doctors, so we are just assuming what would be useful for them.

We already have a live prototype with some medium to high fidelity mockups.

How do you think I should go about recruiting doctors for user research? As we all know, doctors are usually super busy and their time costs big money.

Is our only option to call them up, book an appointment and just do our interviews? We'll end up spending a fortune :)

I am not very creative and not very experienced with user research anyway.

I was wondering if any of you had experience with this or with other types of "high paid" professions, not so easy to find.

Thanks a lot for your help!


  • Adam ConradAdam Conrad, 5 years ago

    Email me at the email address in my profile I have a good friend who is a doctor who is now a physician consultant. He'd be happy to help, those kinds of doctors who aren't in hospitals can help in this regard.

    4 points
    • , 5 years ago

      Hi Adam,

      thanks so much for trying to help out.

      I forgot to mention it in my post: I am in the UK and the product will be focused on a specific area of private medicine in the UK. So I’d be looking to interview not just any doctor, but a specific kind of specialist.

      I don't want to waste your friend's time, is he in the UK by any chance? Thanks!

      0 points
  • Mitch Malone, 5 years ago

    Hey I worked in healthcare.

    Based on the product description, your practice-facing supply side users sound like front desk staff or the office manager. Most doctors aren't worrying about scheduling patients. They usually hire people to do that. The provider is a stakeholder (they want more business for sure) but the person who ends up buying and using it might be someone else.

    I would try to figure out who your real users are and then go out and learn about them.

    As far as getting them into a room, some kind of compensation will go a long way. It sucks if you don't have any capital but it's worth it. It's better to spend money now on interviews and usability tests than to spend more later building a product no one wants.

    2 points
  • Nicole AydëNicole Aydë, 5 years ago

    It looks like someone else is offering a connection. But I would not book an appointment and then try to do user research unless you are trying to get a lens of the patient. I'd ask the office manager to ask a doctor if they'd be willing to provide time or try to contact physician consultants within universities. You could always email some doctor's office and explain what you are trying to do. When we did testing on physicians, we normally paid anywhere between 150-300 dollars per their hour for testing. We also had to be very conscientious of PHI and not take any photos, etc.

    2 points
  • Sebastian B, 5 years ago

    Hi there,

    I currently perform ongoing research with doctors, clinical staff, nurses and office admin. I'm am now based in America, not in the UK though, although I grew up there. Here there are certain laws around compensation within the medical field and that can be tricky sometimes.

    There isn't one specific answer I use a combination of shadowing, one and one user interviews, some usability testing in the practice, putting together an advisory board if possible and also being a ninja/creative like you said.

    0 points
  • Steve O'ConnorSteve O'Connor, 5 years ago

    Having done work on some medical and healthcare products, I would say you need two things:

    1. An experienced UX researcher to write your interview questions
    2. Someone with good contacts in the healthcare system to get the questions to the right people.

    If you don't ask the right questions, in the right way, you won't get good data. Very important with a small budget, and with this type of profession. If you don't have the right data you can't make the right product and it will fail. There are a lot of similar projects in this sector right now and health professionals are getting very wary of people approaching them with yet another product to try out.

    If you have someone with good contacts, who can get your questions in front of a good number of the right cross-section of people, you will stand a better chance of getting good data. Finding the odd random doc won't help with that.

    One question - what country are you in? Different countries, different expectations and opportunities.

    0 points
    • , 5 years ago

      Hi Steve, thanks for your answer, very helpful.

      When you say "..and health professionals are getting very wary of people approaching them with yet another product to try out", is this something you are assuming because you see many products in this sector, or is this something you know for sure, because you know doctors or you have heard of doctors getting tired of being approached all the time about new products? I am not doubting your source, I’m just curious. And if it is indeed a widespread feeling among doctors to be more reluctant towards new products, it might add some extra complications to what we are trying to do.

      I forgot to mention it in my post: I am in the UK and the product will be focused on a specific area of private medicine in the UK. So I’d be looking to interview not just any doctor, but a specific kind of specialist.

      0 points
      • Steve O'ConnorSteve O'Connor, 5 years ago

        I hope it is helpful Mark, I realise it could sound quite cynical!

        I don't have real data to qualify my statement about healthcare professionals being wary, only anecdotes. The healthcare sector is very attractive to digital agencies right now as there is a lot of investment and funding, so they're trying to get in on the action. I'm in one of those!

        As well as this agency I have done work with major product design companies, MedTech startups, and one man bands - all in the healthcare sector. And all of them (and more) contacting healthcare professionals for research and testing.

        Add to that the history of bloody awful tech products that have been pushed on people and wasted NHS money and yes, they are weary and wary in my experience!

        2 points
      • Steve O'ConnorSteve O'Connor, 5 years ago

        Just reading this and thought of your project - fourth story in the list: https://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/new-nhs-mental-health-data-hub-babylon-healthcheck-and-more-uk-digital-health-news-briefs"EY releases preliminary findings from survey looking at how receptive consumers and physicians are to using digital health tools."

        0 points