Provider Location Map
Google Maps and Provider Location Data, 2012
The Background of the Problem
Inside an insurance company I used to work for, a team of 30 provider contractors were responsible for answering patient questions about provider addresses. A provider contractor negotiates the service contracts that a doctor makes with an insurance company. They would receive questions like- can you help me locate all psychiatrists within a 30 mile radius? For each request, the provider contractors would manually search through their entire database of provider addresses and guess at which providers were closest by looking at nearby cities.
The Problem Itself
I was encouraged to find a better solution for the contractors. I had no budget and my tools had to be open source. I wanted to automate the provider search process. The provider address data did not include latitude and longitude and automating the search process was impossible without them. The manual search methods the contractors used was grossly time inefficient and inaccurate.
A Plan for Solving the Problem
I knew I needed to map the provider addresses to their corresponding longitude/latitude coordinates. With the exact coordinates, I could calculate exact distances. I learned that Google Maps has an open source API for web browsers. I could present the data using Google Maps and a browser. This would require me to convert the data from the SQL into HTML commands to the Google Maps API.
The Application of the Solution
I worked iteratively. My cycle was to design, beta test for feedback, and incorporate feedback into the next design. Using their feedback, I was able to use human centered design and develop based on their needs instead of guessing at what their pain points were.
I built an application that was able to search for provider addresses using radial distance from a location or search for addresses using basic address information. The resulting list of providers is outputted to the web browser with color coded icons representing each provider. The time savings achieved by automating the provider search process exceeded a full time employee when we multiplied the impact over 30 provider contractors.