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Main Line Health

Improving user experience with research and data

Optimizing for Success

Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving Philadelphia and its western suburbs. With four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals, one of the nation’s best facilities for rehabilitative medicine, and one of the region’s largest multi-specialty physician networks, Main Line Health serves patients throughout the continuum of care.

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Websites are a business tool, and modern digital platforms built using a design system and a CMS enable digital teams to continually optimize the user experience.  By conducting user research and implementing data-based improvements, site owners can continually optimize the site rather than starting from scratch with a redesign every 3-5 years.


Four years after its site relaunch, Main Line Health asked Palantir to conduct user research to identify data-based user experience improvements.


Our proposed data-based menu label changes outperformed the current Main Line Health menu by 15%.


The Situation

Palantir partnered with Main Line Health to redesign their platform in 2015, and the new website launched in 2016. In 2020, Main Line Health engaged Palantir to conduct user research on the site and identify data-based opportunities to improve the user experience. Our project goals were to:

  1. Establish key KPIs and benchmarks
  2. Identify key user flows and conversions
  3. Recommend actionable improvements to Main Line Health’s navigation and UX
  4. Create a KPI performance assessment plan

How Palantir Helped

This engagement was all about user research: our goal was to choose the best research activities to surface actionable insights. We ultimately conducted three research activities: 

  1. “Top Task” survey: The Top Task survey identifies the top tasks visitors are coming to your site to complete.
  2. Tree tests: Tree tests evaluate users’ success finding information within a top-level IA structure. We tested the current menu and our proposed menu.
  3. Usability tests: Usability tests enable us to identify issues with key user flows on the current site by watching real users attempt to accomplish tasks.

We also conducted a light analysis of Google Analytics and Hotjar reports, as well as a series of stakeholder interviews to better understand the goals of the Main Line Health web and marketing teams. Key insights included:

Key Opportunity 1: Elevate Insurance & Cost information

Our research surfaced Insurance and Cost Information as the highest priority tasks with no main navigation, filter options or homepage callouts that cater to these needs at a top level. In addition, the lack of insurance information on the doctor profiles was a critical blocker to booking an appointment: “I’d click the doc and look for insurance information in the profile. I don’t see it. I wouldn’t book with a doc unless they are covered.”

Key Opportunity 2: Create a “digital front door” for finding the right care

100% of visitors in both the usability test and the tree test failed to find urgent care information on a first try. In addition, Main Line Health offers telemedicine, which may be an alternative to visitors seeking urgent care. A “digital front door” to guide visitors seeking the right level of care can solve for multiple visitor and business goals.

Key Opportunity 3: Find a Doctor Search interface improvements

100% of visitors used “location” as the first filter for searching for a provider. The filter option in the search interface is hidden behind a click.

Key Opportunity 4: Streamline Specialties and Condition & Treatment information

Tree tests showed that visitors didn’t understand the difference between “Specialties” and “Condition & Treatment” information. In our usability tests, visitors kept getting stuck in loops as they attempted to navigate to the information they needed.

Key Opportunity 5: Remove barriers to accessing the Patient Portal

Over a quarter of all traffic to the site goes to the Patient Portal, but there’s no universal menu option that lets visitors navigate in one click.

Impact and Outcomes:

Our proposed top-level menu outperformed the current MLH top-level menu by 15% overall. At a detail level we saw even greater improvements:

  • 44% improvement in finding the right care/digital front door
  • 44% improvement in finding cost information
  • 58% improvement in finding insurance information
  • 63% faster time to accessing the patient portal

We also developed actionable, data-based UX recommendations for three user flows and a user interface:

  1. Find the right care (digital front door)
  2. Research a service
  3. Access the patient portal
  4. Find a Doctor search interface

For each flow we included a user scenario, audience and business goals, a recommended page flow, page-level UX recommendations for each page in the flow, and a KPI performance assessment plan so that the Main Line Health team can evaluate and iterate based on their performance in the real world.

“These are rich insights beyond what we expected, and actionable too.” - Bridget Therriault, Director of Communications

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