Premera Blue Cross

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Irish Malig Profile

The short answer is that Irish Malig has worked on projects for Premara BCBS for over three years, researching user experiences, facilitating design improvement and improving both business and customer experiences.

There was not much information about Ms Malig in the public domain. Her LinkedIn page was the most enlightening, but I was able to piece together a profile of her philosophies and principles based on limited other data publicly available.

Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.


Ms Malig's work experience began in 2008, after she obtained her MS in Organization Change Management from the New School University.

Her first role was as a Design Research and Development Specialist for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Here, she served as a project manager for the Department of Strategic Planning and Innovation. During this time, she helped create an Innovation Lab and other initiatives to improve the patient experience.

After three years, Ms Malig moved on to the Carbon Design Group to work as their Senior Design Researcher and Strategist. CDG are a product development consultancy. Ms Malig worked with CDG for only 17 months before she left to pursue freelance work. Unfortunately, there are no testimonials or portfolios available to allow us to see what projects she worked on during her time with CDG.

In April 2014, Ms Malig then started work for Premara BCBS to improve their "customer experience design strategy". She worked as a Senior Design Strategist for 19 months before being promoted to Senior Manager of Experience Strategy. Within the project, she worked with operations and clinical staff, both internally and externally, to help support decision-making for Premara's members. She helped develop self-service tools for members, service redesign of core experiences, and redesigned background processes to improve business and customer experiences.

As expected, her chief skills are strategy, design strategy and project management.


While much of Ms Malig's professional life has resided in user experience and design strategy, I could not find any evidence she has directly participated in major website redesigns in the past. She did help in designing self-service tools (including check-in terminals) for patients during her work with both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Premara BCBS. There is no evidence, however, that this work extended to website design.

Her blog page only contains work that she did for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she helped redesign a delivery care model for a satellite chemotherapy center, but not their public-facing website. Her Twitter feed has not been updated since 2016, and despite being rather prolific in 2011 and 2012, she has not tweeted any details of projects involved website redesigns.

In a talk at the IIT Design Research Conference 2010, she described her main role as a "facilitator", but there is no mention of website design.

During her work for Carbon Design Group, it is possible she helped head some website redesigns, as her role was to "design research and strategy can help deliver delightful user experiences." In a response to a student researcher, she clarified her role with CDG as, "I make sure we have the appropriate amount of research (whether that's from my desk or in the field) to get to actionable insights that will define a product design." This is interpreted to mean that while she may have directly participated in larger projects like website redesigns at CDG, she would've helped frame and define it through research, not direct design.

Given the indirect evidence above, it appears that Ms Malig has not previously been involved in any major website redesigns in the past.


Irish Malig staffed a workshop at IASDR Conference 2017, called "Patient 360: Collaborating on Cancer Care". This workshop focused on showing how Premara conducted design research to help build a robust understanding of the cancer experience. This gives some insight into Ms Malig's passion for truly understanding patient experiences, and how this data can possibly to be used to improve the customer experience overall.

Unfortunately, outside of Ms Malig's short role descriptions on LinkedIn, coupled with her endorsements of colleagues, there is no other evidence in the public domain regarding her work for Premara. In the next section, I was able to gain some insight on her general philosophy, which may apply to the Premara redesign.


Some statements from colleagues on LinkedIn give clues as to Irish's work philosophy, especially related to her time with Premara BCBS. Peers describe her as "customer-obsessed, [who] lives and breathes user research." Others speak of her innate ability to pull teams together and really drive co-workers to put their forward best. Many describe her passion and leadership skills.

Her blog, Twitter and past projects speak to her passion for facilitating the user experience. She enjoys digging deep and truly understanding the mindset of the user, then translating that information into actionable insights.


Despite limited publicly available evidence, I was able to formulate a picture of Irish Malig's work experience, philosophies and possible goals for her projects with Premara BCBS. Overall, she is a passionate researcher and designer of user experience strategy, who strives to truly understand the user experience and translate that into impactful, actionable insights to improve service design and delivery.
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Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield


Premera Blue Cross team is on a mission to make health insurance work better by simplifying a notoriously complex landscape for their users in Washington and Alaska, building trust along the way. Recently, the company decided to undergo a process of re branding and redesigning the Premera Blue Cross website. The process is split on two phases, where:
- Phase 1 (The re branding)
The website is updated with fonts, colors and photography to align with a new brand identity.
- Phase 2 (The redesigning), where the following takes place:
a. Migration from Bootstrap to Material Design
b. Information architecture overhaul
Many driving factors and recurrent issues are the reasons behind the company's decision to re brand and redesign their website.
Pertaining to the request to address the current issues and the driving factors behind the company's decision to re brand and redesign their website, this research provides a comprehensive list of both the issues and driving factors required.

The driving factors are:
- To conduct a competitive analysis to understand how Premera compared.
- Improving the users' experience in the website by collecting feedback from users and knowing the most required website pages visited by users.
- Optimizing the website to enforce accessibility options for all types of users.
- Website information architecture overhaul to match the competitors architecture and to provide consistent and easy user experience for the website visitors in both the web and the mobile devices.
- Adapting the current services and introducing more refurbished ones to appeal more to millennials, while retaining a focus on the full 2 million consumers across the country that rely on Premera for access to health services.

The issues are:
- The current CMS (Content Management System) used by Premera to mainly add, manage and display their website content is outdated, and they are working to move to a new updated system.
- Customer's records compromised by website security breaches. The records contained the customer's social security number, credit card numbers and information about medical problems.

For more details on the driving factors and issues behind the decision to redesign and re brand Premera website, please have a look at the following sections.

A deeper look into the driving factors:

Below is an exhaustive list of the driving forces as why Premera decided to redesign their website:

Competitive analysis:
Full analysis of competitors' colors, page hierarchies and featured content in order to understand how Premera compared.

What users want
In order to make regular and data-driven improvements to the customer experience, Premera team gathered data from the below sources to know what users mostly want to see in the website and to improve and deliver a quality user experience to them:
- Users' feedback collected from Premera's innovative program "Premera Listens".

Website Accessibility optimization:
Premera team studied the (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) WCAG 2.0 along with other accessibility resources to understand how best to incorporate accessibility updates in the brand new design.

Website Information Architecture overhaul:
In order to improve the design of their website to match the competitors' and to deliver an easy and consistent user experience to the website's visitors, Premera team is doing a deep analysis of the Information Architecture of the site and the work is still in progress.

More services that appeal to Millennials:
- There is no question that technology advancements and a generational shift of consumer attitudes is driving a tremendous amount of change in how customer generally receive goods and services.

- Premera considers that Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1997) are now the largest generation in the United States, having recently surpassed baby boomers for that title. Overall, they represent a very different consumer. They demand immediacy, more empathy, and far greater transparency than prior generations. They think in terms of convenience, personalization and experience.
Premera healthcare strategies must address emerging consumer needs that push the company into new ways of doing business while retaining a focus on the full 2 million consumers across the country that rely on Premera for access to health services. Along these lines, a few key activities at Premera are underway:

a. Premera is building a new customer experience in the new designed website. The company is listening to the customer in a direct and meaningful way through Premera Listens.
b. Premera is engaging with current and future customers online and through a variety of social media channels. The company wants to be available to their customers when and where they need them and through whatever communication method they prefer.


Current CMS:
- The current CMS (Content Management System) used by Premera to mainly add, manage and display their website content is outdated, and they are working to move to a new updated system.
- Many site pages contain content owned by various stakeholders at Premera. They need to make major changes, sometimes omissions, to better support user goals.

Website security breaches:
- Premera Blue Cross website has been hacked back in 2015, and hackers may have taken up to 11 million customer records. Those records include credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, even information about medical problems.
- The development team in Premera has set to apply the highest security standards and policies in the new website design to avoid such incidents from happening again, compromising the safety and information of millions of Premera's customers.


As the largest health plan company in the Pacific Northwest, Premera is on a mission to make health insurance work better by simplifying a notoriously complex landscape for their users in Washington and Alaska, building trust along the way. Recently, the company decided to undergo a process of re branding and redesigning the Premera Blue Cross website. The following factors and issues are the driving forces behind the design to re brand and redesign their website.
Factors are:
- Conduct a competitive analysis to understand how Premera compared.
- Improving the users' experience in the website.
- Enforcing accessibility options in the website
- Website information architecture overhaul
- Adapting the website to millennials' user experience

The issues are:
- An outdated CMS (Content Management System) used by Premera
- Website security breaches compromising the information of millions of customers.

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Health Insurance Company Websites


Website redesigns in the health insurance industry are being driven by the companies' need to stay relevant to their customers. The motivating factors are pushing for redesign in order to engage website audiences better, and to improve interaction with these audiences. Redesigning websites is now a tool for developing a competitive edge, and in the industry, Regence Health Insurance (Regence) and Kaiser Permanente have undertaken some redesigning to give their websites a face lift.


The determination of the motivating factors behind website redesigning was done using the following steps.

1. The motivating factors were selected by focusing specifically on the two companies whose information is required for this research — Regence Health Insurance and Kaiser Permanente.

2. The motivating factors were determined from preexisting data.

3. For each motivating factor given, reference is given to how it has been used by either or both competitors (Regence Health Insurance and Kaiser Permanente).

Below are the motivating factors behind website redesign.


One of the key influences behind website redesign in the health insurance industry is usability improvement. Kaiser Permanente now has a website that allows the website admin to edit content, allowing for flexibility and ease of organizing pages.

Regence has also upgraded to a new easy-to-use website for its customers. Improving the usability of the websites is being undertaken to optimize the experience of website users in order to better meet their needs.


In the past, some websites were designed in such a way that they were optimized for viewing and use on desktops, but with the increase in use of mobile phones and other devices to access websites, focusing on user experience across several devices is necessary to personalize the customers' healthcare experience.

Kaiser Permanente has added focus on optimizing its content for both web and mobile. Customers search for several website tasks on both mobile devices and desktops, therefore it is vital to encompass not only desktops, but mobiles as well.


Companies use websites to increase their visibility and engagement with their customers, therefore, it is important for the websites to be optimized for viewing.

Kaiser Permanente states that 70% of its members have registered through their site, and Regence uses its site to target its required audience. There is an increase in consumer reliance on online resources, therefore optimizing a website is key to getting these customers.


The use of customer and patient portals is on the increase due to the growth of business and communication being conducted online. Both Regence and Kaiser Permanente have added portals to their websites in order to assist their members.

An increasing number of consumers are aware of the ease of conducting business or getting information through the use of portals and there is a belief that with time, these portals will become the backbone of more extensive communication between companies and their customers, therefore portals are necessary for success.


Website redesign has been driven by the need for better website navigation and the structure of content given to customers. Kaiser Permanente underwent an overhaul of its navigation and content structure and Regence also redesigned its website to incorporate ease of navigation and content evolution. Improving navigation helps the website users to do more, and this results in excellent user experience.


For a company like Kaiser Permanente which prides itself on its health innovation, reflecting this to the customer is important. With the increase in the use of online resources, it is important for a company to be able to show its innovation even through its website, and this necessitates website redesigning.


When people visit a website for the first time, the first thing that draws their attention is the appearance and layout of the website. 70% of Kaiser Permanente's members have signed up through their website. Therefore, this means that companies have the task of producing excellent website layouts in order to attract customers.

To increase its member population, Kaiser Permanente did a layout overhaul, and Regence also changed its website structure in order to appeal more to its customers.


Website redesign is being used as a tool to increase engagement with the rapidly increasing internet audiences. The motivating factors outlined above give an indication of what the audiences are looking for, and these factors have become the influence behind the companies' need to redesign their websites.

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