Cigna One Guide: A compass is handy, but a guide is better.

Portland Studio

Cigna, a global health service company, approached our team with a problem. Their customer portal, myCigna, was mostly transactional — focused on allowing subscribers to check on claims and access details regarding their coverage, but providing little in the way of education or guidance through the complex and often overwhelming world of health insurance. Two years prior, we had designed an app for Cigna called Compass to provide this guidance, helping people get the most out of their existing policies and suggesting options to help improve their overall experience. Compass was highly successful, contributing to savings for customers while encouraging them to engage in wellness and lifestyle programs. The main drawback was that it was separate from the myCigna experience, leading to a disconnect for many customers.

Project Snapshot:


To create a holistic health insurance platform that could serve as both a customer portal and an educational platform that informed customers of all Cigna has to offer.


There is a hierarchy of needs in healthcare, and the current system failed to address many critical foundational layers.


After extensive research in the healthcare community, we determined which aspects of health insurance needed more clarity and transparency. We applied these findings to One Guide, a website and app that combined the best features of Compass and myCigna and added a human customer service layer.


One Guide users have shown a 10% increase in engagement in wellness and lifestyle programs. After our work on Compass, we were lucky to have the opportunity to come back and start exploring the next generation of digital guidance for Cigna. In keeping with the navigation metaphor, the new product was dubbed One Guide — an evolution of the Compass app that combined a best-in-class digital experience with highly trained, concierge-style customer support agents.

Looking for alignment

While Compass was finding success out in the wild, a few smart folks at Cigna started to ask the question, “How can we take the best of what Compass offers digitally, combine it with a high-quality human service layer and extend it to our myCigna customer portal?” And that’s where we came in. We started our user research with the goal of understanding what patients need at various points of their healthcare journey so that we could ensure those points aligned with the proposed One Guide feature set. We spent two weeks in Atlanta and Denver talking to 48 health insurance customers in small groups and one-on-one in-home studies. The groups provided for dynamic discussions and offered multiple data points, while the in-home studies gave us the opportunity to explore customer needs in-depth within their environment.

A widening trust gap

The sessions started with a discussion about the subjects’ healthcare journey, focusing specifically on their motivations, anxieties and behaviors. The themes that emerged were consistent with previous research, save for one glaring difference. Customers had a serious lack of trust in the healthcare system as a whole. A lack of transparency throughout the entire process — from selecting a plan to actually seeking care — led to a massive gap in consumers’ faith in the system. That expanding trust gap meant that the need to rebuild confidence was going to factor heavily in our feature evaluation and prioritization for One Guide. So we created a few original frameworks that enabled us to evaluate features through a lens optimized for rebuilding confidence and earning consumer trust.

Taking a narrative approach

Next we took our research into a large, collaborative workshop. We spent two days grounding ourselves in the customer experience with roughly 50 participants representing eight different work streams at Cigna. One the first day, we facilitated a narrative design process that followed four target personas through four points in the insurance process that were critical to building trust: selecting a plan, getting started with that plan, finding care and resolving an issue.

We spent the second day of the workshop mapping out use cases, requirements and gaps, working to provide Cigna with the raw materials needed to start defining detailed requirements for One Guide. We also started developing initial concepts. Each concept placed an emphasis on clarity and transparency, focusing on helping customers to fully understand each step of their healthcare journey.