Angie’s List is Looking Beyond Rating Systems for Health Care

Matthew Holt:
I’m really excited that I’m interviewing Roys Laux, who is the GM of Health & Wellness at Angie’s List.

So let’s start off with, many people probably noticed that your folks have been at Health 2.0 a couple of times and that Angie’s List, which started off doing work for contractors, plumbers, restaurants, has now goten into rating doctors and hospitals a few years back. But just give us a sense about the role of health care within your business?

Roys Laux:
Yeah, absolutely! This is a vertical that’s growing within Angie’s List, and it’s obviously very important to us, and we continue to invest there at a very high level. Of course Angie’s List’s mission is connecting consumers with the best service providers that they need for a given service at any point in time.

And so, as you say, that started with home contractors, plumbers, roofers, handymen…because these were high cost-to-failure service providers that homeowners needed to find and didn’t have good referral sources for.

It’s interesting that those kind of same member consumers also want to shop for their doctors and don’t always have a great place to get recommendations for doctors unless they are seeking a specialist and are getting a referral from another doctor.

And so Angie’s List has sort of continued to grow in this space to meet the needs of their members. And we intent to keep growing in this space, especially as online ratings across the board are beginning to change the way consumers really shop for medical professionals.

Matthew Holt:
Right. So obviously it may be a little bit unusual for those looking at your participation at Matchpoint Boston, that you are now out looking for partners to do a whole host of different settings.

You are looking for patient provided communication companies, people providing outcomes and data, people doing personal health management tools…so I assume this means that you are thinking strategically about sort of expanding other services you can offer those consumers who are interested in finding the right doctor or health care professional.

So can you talk a little about your sort of general strategy going forward?

Roys Laux:
We know that our members tend to be people who have more money than time and really want a trusted resource to help them navigate, not just sort of the things they need to maintain at home, but also other things in their lifestyle. And so Angie’s List begins to become that trusted resource for these members in the health space. If we can bring tools to these consumers that will help them manage their health, the health of their families, that will help them more easily select and communicate with health care providers or make decisions about their own health care. This is a role we believe we can continue to grow, that value added product for our members.

Now, we could certainly go out like to software development companies and try to create our own tools in this space, but we understand that Health 2.0 has a wealth of innovative resources kind of as an organization that you can tap into, and so we are excited to learn what some of those may be that could partner nicely with Angie’s List to bring more value to our consumer members.

Matthew Holt:
On that point, have you done anything similar across the board in other areas-so non-health medical-in terms of partnering with other companies and moving into other areas beyond what people want, or is this kind of the first time you will be trying that?

Roys Laux:
We are parallel passing that on other parts of Angie’s List currently. So just like we are out looking for pilots and partners in the health space, we are also looking for other value added tools we can add in the home services space, and some of that is going to be in-house innovation, but some of that is going to be partnering and bringing in new resources, or even potentially acquiring other companies as well.

Matthew Holt:
Great! And I guess in terms of the health space and particularly Matchpoint Boston, you have got a list of folks who have gone to the website and seen what different types of activities you are looking to find.

But of the various things that you have been looking for in terms of looking out at companies, what do you think you are most excited about? What would be sort of a really good nugget to uncover?

Roys Laux:
A couple of things that I think are maybe most strategically aligned with where Angie’s List is today, just generally in the business and then also as it continues to move forward, are anything in the space of eCommerce, or health eCommerce. People who may be members of Angie’s List or are familiar with Angie’s List can see that, not only are we connecting our members to service providers, but we are also helping them choose a provider that can do the job at the right price.

We have a big deal product that we offer. We have storefront products that both health providers and traditional home services providers can stand up on our website. But we don’t have a really concerted effort in this area, specifically in the health space today.

I think if there are some great eCommerce tools out there that maybe allow a consumer to basically find price compare and shop for, not just quality, but also prices on medical services, that may be of interest to us.

Answering questions for people as they are trying to choose a provider or make health decisions in sort of an online chat and Q&A portion, this is something that, yes, we have some functionality around for certain parts of our product offering today, but nothing that’s sort of in the health space, so this is something that’s of interest to us.

And of course just anything we could add that would enhance the profiles of the providers we have information on today. So whether it is outcomes data, whether it is peer clinical rankings and ratings, those things may also be attractive and just a value add for members that are selecting a provider.

Matthew Holt:
Great! So that’s a whole list of stuff, but a lot of it around sort of enhancing the experience of consumers online as they work through that and you are working to enhancing the health care experience on Angie’s List for people who are coming and looking for providers and sort of taking the next steps, so that’s fabulous.

Roys, we look forward to seeing you in Boston.

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