Final Report: Health Specialist Locator
Group 9: James Hammack, Jared Lococo & Emily Zaher
LIS 4785

Our group’s final project was creating a website application that locates health specialist in the user’s area. By having the user first fill out a few medical questions before their search, questions such as gender, age, area they are in, symptoms and specialist they are looking for. Our hope is with our website and/or app with the use of other users review, would help our users find specialist in their area who are positively reviewed by people who are similar in age, gender and were suffering from the same or similar symptoms as them.

Problem Statement
The problem affects the patients because we are gearing our technology towards finding the best physician in the area based on overall rating and how people generally feel about him or her.
The problem is that there is so much overwhelming information on the Internet that the consumer can’t decipher whether the information is credible or not. The proper term is called information anxiety and Richard Saul Wurman author of the book “Information Anxiety” defines it as a problem that is “produced by the ever-widening gap between what we understand and what we think we should understand. It is the black hole between data and knowledge, and what happens when information doesn't tell us what we want or need to know."
The problem occurs when the consumer is looking for a specialist such as a cardiologist in their area they want to find the best one possible but are bombarded with information on the Internet. Or they are recommended one by their own physician but want a second opinion and need our technology to help them make a decision. It needs to be fixed now because patients should be getting the best possible specialist in the area by doing the minimal amount of work possible and getting the best results. It crucial for a patient to get this information so they can’t get care as soon as possible
The problem occurs at homes because patients have fewer resources then say a physician who knows other specialists in the area. The patients is in a sense left in the dark about these things and has to do their own research, which could lead to a plethora of information seeking that they can’t handle. Not to mention a physician can recommend another physician they like but not best the most qualified in the area. Our application will eliminate that bias and produce the best results.
It’s important to solve this problem because the patients deserve the best specialist in their particular area without having to do extensive research. When the problem is fixed the patient will be able to type in their area and what specialist they want and what insurance they have and it will generate the best results possible. The technology will base off other patient reviews and we will implement a rating system that will determine how good the specialist is. We will also create filters that let the patient know which specialist is closest even if they don’t have the greatest reviews. If the problem isn’t fixed then patients will have to either trust their physician or search the Internet and hopefully find a good result.
Statistics that show our application is needed and relevant:
“77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD.” (Information Triage). This tells us that 77% of online health seekers have a need for healthcare, but don't know where to specifically input their information needs, so they're going to a general search engine. If they knew our app existed, they would have direct access to a specifically relevant application that's tailored for healthcare search, with results personalized for them. Also, 13% of online health seekers are already looking for a more specific resource for healthcare.
“35% of US adults have gone online to try and figure out what medical condition they or someone else has.” (Information Triage). Informs that 35% of US adults are familiar with using online resources to look for healthcare, which means they are more likely to be able to effectively use our application. And that suggests our market could then ideally be 35% of US adults, which is pretty lucrative. Those 35% are used in the following stats as "online diagnosers". When asked if the info they found online lead them to believe that they needed to seek medical attention or if they could take care of it at home, 46% of “online diagnosers” say that the condition needed the attention of a doctor, and 11% said it was either both or in between (Information Triage). This says that 46% of “online diagnosers” have need of our application, and that the medical professionals through our application could benefit from the business of potentially 57% of “online diagnosers” (Information Triage).
“19% of smartphone owners have downloaded an app specifically to track or manage health.” (Mobile Health 2012). 1 in 5 smartphone owners would potentially download our app.

Potential Solutions
3 Solutions our app offers:
1) It saves its users time when seeking specific healthcare types. That saved time often directly affects your health if the health need is urgent.
2) It saves its users money. If a user goes to a general physician about a health concern and then they're referred to a specialist, they would have to pay for the general physician consultation as well as the specialist they'd then be going to visit.
3) Our user feedback feature will improve the overall quality of healthcare experienced by our users by providing them with ratings/reviews, that way the doctors who give the best healthcare in your area can be found.

Chosen Approach
Our chosen approach was to build a website application that brought together geographic convenience with user feedback-based quality to help consumers find the medical specialist best suited to their needs.
This is done by having the consumer fill out a basic profile of details pertaining to the medical needs you seek and any information required about yourself. This what’s known as the static profile and will contain details that generally don’t change such as your name, health insurance, contact info, etc. This is essentially our registry of users.
Next the visitor will fill out a more specific questionnaire/detail submission form where he or she will fill out the medical details of what you’re searching for, such as your current condition and any problems you may be experiencing, as well as your current location for distance-based results. These are known as session details and will provide the application with the information it needs to present the results most pertinent to your medical need.
Our application will be implemented with physicians’ collaboration to populate the data given back from the application, such as their office locations, specialty, and contact info. This will also be paired with a crowdsourcing method in which the more people use this site, the more reviews will be written. Thus, trends in the quality of the specialist will develop as more consumers develop a consistent opinion about him/her. For instance, if you had 2 reviews on your doctor, one great and one terrible, you wouldn’t really have a solid opinion because there’s no consistency yet. If a doctor had 1000 reviews however, and only 10 were bad, you’d know that this is generally a well-practiced physician.
The application will then give the results in two forms. First, an interactive map will appear showing pins that represent offices or points of care that pertain to your desired specialist. This is the location-based convenience of the application, and it could help patients cut travel time, save gas money, and even save lives when the medical need proves urgent and you’ve saved 30 minutes of transit to focus on your care. The second interface is the User Review function. It’s essentially a page containing results for a particular medical specialty sorted by average rating from user reviews. Clicking a specialist on this page will open up more details concerning the user feedback given from previous consumers via text form and 1-5 rating, and of course the current application user can come back to this page and leave his/her own review after their experience with that healthcare provider. This page represents the user feedback quality by which the consumer should judge their decision, and in unison with the interactive map should give the consumer the best balance of quality and convenience to seek appropriate medical services.

Learning Experiences
In this project we learned many things from building our application to working together as a group. We also learned other important specific aspects such as all the requirements and work involved in creating a useful application for the market. We learned much about the consumer when creating an application for the market such as to comb consumer’s interest and the specifications of their needs. As well as what information is realistically important to a consumer. We learned how to incorporate user feedback constructively and how to make an application user-friendly for a consumer who might not be tech or health literate.

Team Roles
The entire group participated in collaboration, feedback and construction of the project. While James and Jared work mostly on construction and features of our website application. Emily worked on content building and all additional assignments that went along with the project. While all assignments and work was finalized together as a group.

Meeting Minutes
Our group met multiple times in class as well as discussed via text message and email on our collaboration of the initial idea of our project. We met for a few hours in the Goldstein Library to create the beginning template of our website. We then delegated and divided the work to develop and finish the application as well as the other assignments on the application. We were constantly in contact as a group on aspects our project. We met again to finalize and finish the application as well as go over the presentation.

Solution Prototype

Our first meeting as a group involved just creating an idea and function for our application. We then worked on building the application which took a progression of 3 meetings. After our demo presentation and it took 2 meetings to make changes on group feedback and finish our application. It took one meeting to build the final presentation, and one meeting to practice before we finally presented.

Final Solution
PhysicianFinder: An app designed to mitigate information overload and optimize both convenience and quality of care by bringing together a dynamic map and user review-based list of medical specialists to fit your needs. Application Template URL:
Next Steps
Once we have the backbone of our application finished, there are two other tasks to improve its functionality that we can’t accomplish ourselves: one of which involving external collaboration, and one involving time and increase in user base. As earlier mentioned, cooperation with the physicians will help us populate our databases with more detailed information that we couldn’t find with a google search, such as awards won or other such accolades to influence the consumer’s decision. We could also collaborate with physicians who get enough business through our app to offer discounts to customers of that physician who find them via our application.
The next big step in the effectiveness of our application is waiting for a user base large enough to start showing consistency and trends in the user review section. As earlier mentioned, the more users we have generating reviews about a physician, the more trends you’ll notice concerning this specialist’s quality of service. Once our application sees an average of 10 reviews per specialist, the feedback function will have started serving its purpose to a decent degree. It goes without saying that our application will reach maximum effectiveness when we have large numbers of reviews for most if not all of our specialists in the thousands or higher.


Fox, Susannah, and Maeve Duggan. " Information Triage." Pew Research Centers
Internet American Life Project RSS. N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.

Fox, Susannah, and Maeve Duggan. "Mobile Health 2012." Pew Research Centers
Internet American Life Project RSS. N.p., 8 Nov. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.

Wurman, Richard Saul. Information Anxiety. Indianapolis: QUE, 2001. Print